WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah, June 15, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — West Valley City police have made an arrest in the shooting death of a 27-year-old man whose body was found in the back seat of a vehicle abandoned outside Granger Medical Clinic in May.
Suspect Michael Manuel Melara, 22, is being held without bail in the Salt Lake County Jail, and faces initial charges of:
- Manslaughter, a second-degree felony
- Carry a dangerous weapon under the influence of alcohol/drugs, a class B misdemeanor
- Contributing to the delinquency of minor, a class B misdemeanor
Officers were called to the clinic, at 2965 W. 3500 South, on May 26 on a report of a suspicious vehicle.
“When Officers arrived they located a male, deceased in the backseat,” Melara’s probable cause statement says.
The victim was identified by West Valley City police in a May 26 tweet as 27-year-old Juan Jose Zamora Guerrero.
Melara’s probable cause statement says investigators located a juvenile male who “had dropped the decedent off at the clinic and left. During subsequent interviews with the juvenile, detectives learned that the victim was shot at a residence (on Hyannis Ave., West Valley City), and the suspect was still at large.”
Detectives were given Melara’s name, and told “he was the one that shot the decedent,” the statement says.
Melara was picked up and transported to the police station for an interview. After being read his Miranda Rights, the statement says, “Michael stated he did in fact know the victim. He said he was at his home smoking marijuana and playing with a small revolver he recently purchased. As he was sitting in the driver seat of his truck he was smoking and holding the gun out the driver window.
“The victim walked up and Michael pointed the gun at the victim. As he came close the victim bumped the gun and it fired a single round striking the victim in the chest.
“Michael saw the victim fall to the ground and knew he was hurt badly. Michael instructed the juvenile to put the victim in the car and drive him to the hospital.”
The juvenile left the victim in a vehicle in the “drive up and ran away,” the affidavit says. “Michael picked the victim up and drove him away from the scene. After Michael provided this statement detectives advised him he would be charged in connection with the death of the victim and he was transported to jail and booked on the above stated charges.”
Melara, booked Thursday, was denied bail due to the seriousness of the felony crime, the evidence against him, and the chance he would pose danger to others or flee the jurisdiction if released, his order to hold without bail statement says.