2 Men In Custody After Shooting Rampage, Police Chase In Taylorsville, Millcreek, Salt Lake City

Joseph Villagrana and Luis Valadez were arrested in connection with a Friday morning drive-by shooting and police chase. Photos: Salt Lake County

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah, July 15, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Two men are in police custody Friday morning after police say they fired gunshots into a home, missing a 2-year-old Taylorsville girl in her bed by two inches, then led police on a chase that involved two additional cities.

The men, ages 20 and 23, reportedly fired on a home, near 4800 S. 3475 West, at about 4:30 a.m. Friday.

Lt. Lex Bell, of the Unified Police Department, said the suspects first fired from building’s backyard, then got in a white car and fired at the front of the residence while driving away.

The three adults in the home and children, who ranged in age from 2 to 13, were unharmed. The bullet that came inches from the toddler hit her headboard and went into the wall.

Twenty minutes later, a sergeant and officer at a Millcreek substation heard what sounded like shots fired.

“They started driving toward that gunshot,” Bell said, adding the officers already had the Taylorsville’s description of a white car, possibly a Subaru, with a loud muffler. The officers spotted a car that matched.

“Before they could even do anything as far as trying to formulate a plan, the vehicle did a U-turn and began to flee, so they initiated a pursuit,” Bell said.

During the course of the investigation, officers found that more than one weapon may have been involved in the overnight incident.

At about 3600 South and 900 East, the passenger threw a gun out of the car window. Police recovered the weapon, Bell said. Another weapon was recovered later this morning at approximately 1000 E. Millcreek Way, after a resident found it and called police.

In hopes of stopping the car, officers laid out spike strips at about 3300 South and Highland Drive, but the car continued with its front driver-side tired destroyed, and sped away on three tires and a rim.

At 800 South and 900 East, a sergeant was able to perform a pit maneuver, and the suspects’ car spun out, Bell said. Other police cars boxed the vehicle in, and the men were arrested without further incident.

The suspects have been identified as Joseph Emanuel Villagrana, 20, of Murray, and Luis Miguel Valadez, 23, from Salt Lake City.

Bell said one person in the car was a known gang member. He said the renters of the Taylorsville home said they had no gang affiliation, but their behavior — including not calling 911 about the shootings and not wanting officers to enter the residence to check on their welfare or the bullet holes — did raise some red flags.

Bell said car windows shot out in Millcreek are also believed to be the work of the suspects.

 

“We are glad to get a gun and some people off the street,” Bell added.

The owner of the Taylorsville home shot at Friday morning shows reporters some of the damage. Photo: Gephardt Daily
The owner of the Taylorsville home shot at Friday morning shows Gephardt Daily a few of the bullet holes in the building. Photo: Gephardt Daily

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