More information released after man shot 8 times in downtown Vernal

Christopher Travis Herrera. Photo Courtesy: Uintah County Jail

VERNAL, Utah, June 8, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — More details have been released after a man was shot eight times in downtown Vernal June 3.

A probable cause statement from the 8th District Court of Uintah County said Christopher Travis Herrera, 31, is facing a charge of murder, a first-degree felony. Herrera is being held without bail.

Vernal police were called to the scene of an unknown medical problem in the area of 250 West and 400 North Wednesday, the statement said.

“Officers responded to the scene of the unknown problem to find the front door open on an apartment,” the statement said. “Officers located a male lying on the living room floor that appeared to have been shot multiple times with a small caliber firearm, as there was a spent .22 caliber shell lying next to the male’s body.”

Two men were on scene who told officers they heard pops and came to check on the victim. The victim had labored breathing and had a hard time responding, the statement said. EMS arrived a short time later and the male was transported to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

“Witnesses at a nearby apartment complex at 295 N. 120 West advised a male they recognized as Christopher Herrera was seen running through the area carrying a pistol,” the statement said. “Witnesses advised he ran southbound towards Main Street.”

It was found that Herrera was on probation with Adult Probation and Parole. Officers and AP&P Agents were able to locate Herrera in the area of 690 W. 500 South, after he fled from a vehicle that had been stopped by officers. Herrera had barricaded himself inside of the residence.

After approximately two hours of negotiation with Herrera, he exited the the residence, the statement said. Herrera was taken into custody and transported to Ashley Regional Medical Center to be treated for a dog bite he received from a police K-9 assisting officers.

After Herrera was medically cleared by ER staff, he was transported to the Vernal City Police Department to be interviewed. Herrera said the victim had come to the address in the area of 251 W. 400 North to talk with the suspect about a gun that the victim wanted.

“While detectives were speaking with Christopher, he acknowledged he shot the male gunshot victim several times with a .22 pistol,” the statement said. “Christopher made the statements that he didn’t mean to kill him, and ‘I wanted to hurt him but I didn’t want to kill him.’ Christopher also stated ‘I think he deserved it.'”

Herrera was later transported to the Uintah County Jail and placed on an AP&P 72-hour hold.

An autopsy conducted by Utah Medical Examiner’s Office found the victim was shot eight times. It was found two of the gunshots were from the front and the remaining gunshots were from behind or above.

The victim has not been identified.

Gephardt Daily will have more on this developing story as information is made available.


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