SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 24, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Forty-five-year-old Jonathan Llana, the suspect in the fatal shooting of one man and the wounding of another on Interstate 84, has now been charged in Box Elder County, where the shooting took place.
Sgt. JT Jensen, with the State Bureau of Investigation, told reporters Friday night that Llana has been charged with aggravated homicide and aggravated attempted homicide in the fatal shooting of 50-year-old Dennis Gwyther and the shooting of Gwyther’s co-worker.
Gwyther, who lived in Salt Lake City, was a flight attendant for SkyWest, and he and the co-worker were traveling on I-84 for work.
The two men were near Snowville when Gwyther was fatally shot by another driver, believed to be Llana. Gwyther’s passenger was shot in the arm and was able to call 911 and alert authorities. Jensen said he has been released from the hospital and is recovering.
To read more about Gwyther, click here.
Jensen called the incident a “senseless act of violence.”
“The suspect had a complete disregard for human life,” he said.
Officials are not yet certain if the shooting was random, but Jensen said it definitely was unprovoked.
“There is no indication of road rage” being involved, he said. “We don’t believe the victims had anything to do with the shooting.”
Llano is believed to have been traveling through Utah to get to Idaho.
“He has some ties to Idaho,” Jensen said, “but no significant ties to Utah. We know he’s been on the road traveling for several weeks.”
Based on a description of Llana’s silver Jetta, which had a distinctive antenna, Idaho law officials were able to spot his vehicle on Interstate 86 near Burley and attempted a traffic stop.
At a news conference Thursday, Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Ryan VanFleet said that the driver fled, and the gray Jetta was later found, abandoned, in a creek.
On Friday, Jensen said at least two firearms were found in the Jetta, along with parts of firearms. Officials are conducting ballistics tests to determine which gun was used in the shooting.
Jensen said Llana was not armed when he was taken into custody.
After Llana was apprehended about 3:15 p.m. Friday, officials reported that he had managed to break into a house overnight and steal a side-by-side ATV.
Llana has a history of criminal incidents throughout the U.S., Jensen said. He declined to elaborate as to specific types of criminal activities, but said they are “nothing like this,” referring to the fatal shooting.
Llana was taken into custody by law enforcement officers from a joint task force consisting of Utah Highway Patrol, Idaho State Police, Cassia County Sheriff’s Office, Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office, Power County Sheriff’s Office, (and) Idaho Fish and Game.
Gephardt Daily will update this story as more information is made available.