Dozens of shots fired, 1 critically wounded after West Valley City house party

Police investigators on the scene of an early morning shooting Saturday which left one victim in critical condition. Investigators believe the incident was related to a nearby house party attended by juvenile gang members. Photo: Gephardt Daily

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah, Oct. 31, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Police are investigating a shooting that happened early Saturday morning in the aftermath of a house party in West Valley City.

WVCPD Lt. Bill Merritt said officers were at the scene of a vehicle accident at 3500 S. Bangerter when they heard “close to two dozen shots” and just a few minutes later about 10 different people called in to report hearing those same shots.

At first, officers weren’t sure where the gunfire occurred or who was involved, but they¬† soon determined that a party was being held, with about 25 people, mostly juveniles, in a cul-de-sac on Edgewater Circle, off of Hawkeye.

“We were told that some unwelcome people showed up (at the party) and were turned away. That didn’t sit well with them, they didn’t like that,” Merritt said.

“We’re not 100% certain exactly how things played out, but we do know that the unwelcome party-goers started to leave on foot, and they got into an altercation with someone at the mouth of the cul-de-sac,” Merritt said.

The police know there was gunfire because they found shell casings spanning about a block along Hawkeye, he said.

Merritt said the shooting victim was being taken to the hospital in a personal vehicle, along with four other people, when a police lieutenant spotted the car and stopped it, thinking it might contain the suspect in the shooting.

West Valley City police investigators on the scene of an early morning shooting Saturday that left one victim in critical condition. Investigators believe the incident was related to a nearby house party attended by juvenile gang members. Photo: Gephardt Daily

When he discovered the victim in the car, he called for an ambulance to transport the victim to the hospital.

Merritt said the victim is in critical but stable condition, and officials were planning to speak with him and get more information about the shooting.

Police also spoke with a large group of juveniles who had been partying, with alcohol, at the house on Edgewater.

“They’re trying to be cooperative. They’re claiming they don’t know who the victim is, and claiming they don’t know who the unwelcome guests were — at least not by name,” Merritt said, adding, “We believe it’s a gang-affiliated incident.”

First responders attend to a shooting victim early Saturday morning in West Valley City. Photo: Gephardt Daily.

The problem, he said, is that the police don’t know if the victim was at the party, or if the shooting was actually related to the party. They believe, though, that the shooting was targeted, not random, and there is no danger to the public.

Anyone who has any information that might help in the investigation is asked to call police dispatch at 801-840-4000. Callers can remain anonymous.

Anyone in the area who has any type of surveillance camera is also asked to check to see if they have any footage of any part of the incident.

Merritt also pointed out that there may be “ramifications” for the juveniles who were drinking alcohol and the owner of the home where the party took place.

Gephardt Daily will update this developing story as more information is made known.

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