Suspect arrested after fatal shooting in Kearns

Jonathan Montrail Johnson. Photo Courtesy: Salt Lake County Jail

KEARNS, Utah, March 12, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A suspect has been arrested after a fatal shooting outsideĀ an LDS ward house in Kearns.

The incident left 32-year-old Alonso Gerardo Garcia-Mendoza dead in the BMW he had been driving. The two men who were in the car with him and also were shot remain in the hospital in serious and critical condition, Unified Police Sgt. Melody Cutler told Gephardt Daily on Wednesday night.

A probable cause statement from the 3rd District Court of Salt Lake City said Jonathan Montrail Johnson, 20, is facing charges of:

  • Aggravated murder, a first-degree felony
  • Aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony
  • 12 counts of felony discharge of a firearm, a third-degree felony

The statement said Unified Police were dispatched to the scene of a homicide investigation involving a single deceased victim and two surviving victims, in the area of 5305 W. 5400 South.

“Information was established that the three victims were approached in the parking lot of a local church by four Black males, two of which displayed firearms and began shooting into the victim’s car,” the statement said. “The decedent attempted to flee from the gunfire by driving away from the immediate area, but crashed into a nearby fence, causing extensive damage.”

Through the investigation, information was developed that one of the men who shot at the victim was Johnson, the statement said. This information was developed via security camera footage and witness accounts. Witnesses reported Johnson and three other men planned to rob the victim after a drug transaction ruse was organized by an associate of the suspect, the statement said.

“Several independent witnesses separately stated the victim was lured to the church and confronted by Johnson and another male, both whom discharged firearms at the vehicle in which the victim was seated,” the statement said. “The victim was found with a large sum of money in his vehicle.”

Witnesses reported Johnson fled the area on foot after the shooting. After the shooting, he was later observed on a residential surveillance system returning to the area with the three other men. Cutler told Gephardt Daily on Friday that two juveniles, ages 15 and 17, are in custody, and one of the suspects is still outstanding.

Johnson was later located at a residence in Kearns, where he was taken into custody. An interview was attempted; the suspect invoked his right to counsel, and no interview was conducted.

He was transported to Salt Lake County Jail, with his bail set at $1,060,120.

Gephardt Daily will have more information on the story as it develops.


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