Suspect in Mexico extradited in teen’s 2016 Salt Lake City homicide

Fortunato Nato Villagrana. File photo: Salt Lake County Jail

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Jan. 7, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) – The Salt Lake City Police Department has announced the arrest and extradition of a man wanted in the 2016 murder of a SLC teenager.

According to an SLCPD press release, 27-year-old Fortunato Villagrana was taken into custody in Mexico on Thursday by the U.S. Marshals Service. Police say Villagrana allegedly shot and killed 16-year-old Paris Gustin on July 5, 2016, in retaliation for being hit by an egg thrown from a moving vehicle earlier in the night.

“During the investigation, SLCPD Homicide Detectives learned the shooting appeared to be retaliatory after a group of teens drove around throwing eggs at various items and people from a moving vehicle,” the police news release said. “Prior to the shooting, an egg thrown from a vehicle hit Villagrana in the ear and landed in the back seat of his vehicle.”

Police say Villagrana drove to his residence, “collected a firearm” and then “began searching for the people who threw the egg at him” along with then 21-year-old Martin Cruz.

“Once located, Villagrana is accused of leaning a portion of his body out of the window, with Cruz being the driver, and shooting into the vehicle occupied by Gustin,” the SLCPD press release said.

During the course of their investigation, detectives learned Villagrana had fled to Mexico. He was finally taken into custody in a joint effort involving the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office, the United States Department of Justice, and the United States Marshals Service.

“Villagrana is currently lodged in the Salt Lake County Metro Jail and is charged with one count of Murder and three counts of Felony Discharge of a Firearm,” SLCPD said.

No other information about this incident can be released at this time, the SLCPD press release said.


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