Update: Garden City shooter posted on Facebook before gunfire; victims identified

Rick Bywater's photo is shown by the trailer park where he lived. Photos: Sweetwater Trailer Park website

GARDEN CITY, Utah, Sept. 27, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — The last hours of Rick Bywater’s life unfolded Sunday on his Facebook account, just prior to the explosive violence that killed him and injured two others.

“Thanks to all my supporters and those that oppose me can kiss my ass, family or not,” he posted at 11:47 a.m. Sunday on his Facebook page. “:] live prosper and good luck. to all in the future, I did the best i could with what i had to work with, signing off, cant even get my son to answer his phone hes so busy nowadays, he never realised what he meant to me when he came to visit, i guess like father like son.”

The Utah Department of Public Safety has identified the victims as April and Michael Carnahan. April Carnahan’s name matches that of Garden City’s Sweetwater Trailer Park home owner’s association president. The website also lists Bywater among the board members.

Bywater — a resident of the trailer park, on the shore of blue-green Bear Lake — posted again 47 minutes later:

“love you supporters, sorry my son n daughter and granddaughter, my son is who i have issues with and its my issues working with family im all alone here been alone for a long time not that you didnt try.”

Twelve minutes later, Bywater, 53, posted his final note, which named two men he blamed for some of his troubles:

“you pushed me to the edge ***** ******* and **** ******, a couple of losing mother f******z ill say one thing we all tried lmao.”

The shooting started about 1:50 p.m., according to reports. Officers said Bywater started shooting at mobile homes, then focused on the trailer of the 61-year-old woman and her 72-year-old husband.

A sheriff’s office report picks up the story from there:

“On Sunday, September 24, 2017 Rich County Sheriff’s responded to reports of a
suicidal man who was shooting into a home in Garden City,” says a news release issued Monday.

“When officers arrived they found one deceased male inside a vehicle that had crashed into the side of a trailer home. Inside the home two elderly gunshot victims were found. During the attack, gun fire was exchanged and it is believed that is when the suspect was shot and killed.

“A preliminary investigation shows the elderly couple shot back at the suspect as a manner of self-defense. Why the suspect was targeting the elderly couple is still under investigation. The two victims do not have life-threatening injuries and are expected to survive.”

Officers have said the woman was hit in the upper left chest and the man took  bullet to the abdomen. Bywater was found dead in his car, with his shotgun.

The family of the surviving victims released a statement through the Cache County Attorney’s Office Victims Services:

“We would like to thank our friends and community for their outpouring of love and support at this difficult time. The victims are being cared for and currently recovering.”

And Bywater’s Facebook friends are left to ponder, online, what signs they may have missed that their friend was troubled and capable of violence.

“Oh I’m so sad … I wish I knew when I saw you each day how much u hurt, maybe I could have talked to u more,” one poster wrote.

“RIP Rick .. You were a good friend to me..I wish I could have done something today….so sorry for all involved.”

“Today was not the person, I was friends with. I wish I would have listen better. You needed help and I missed it. You were a good man and today was not you. I’m sorry for everyone family, the people who were affected today. This was not Rick. RIP Rick. See you again some day.”

I’m so sorry! I hadn’t talked to you in quite awhile but I knew a kind, caring Rick and I liked him very much! Condolences to his family. RIP Rick, you will be missed!!

“I have never seen him so upset he would want to hurt anyone other than himself, everyone that knew him knew his demons but it was never pointed toward another person.”

“I don’t believe that would fairly explain his actions. Sounds like he was struggling with a lot of heartache as well. Tragedies like this never truly seem to have one cause or one answer. Good people all around truly. Tragic that he just happened to be alone when feeling so bad. I’m so sad this happened.”


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