Taylorsville cemetery shooting ‘another flare up’ in ongoing gang violence problem, officials say

An 18-year-old man visiting a friend's grave in Taylorsville was shot by someone in a black sedan on Saturday, Unified Police officials said. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Steve Milner

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah, March 6, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — A shooting at a Taylorsville cemetery Saturday appears to be the latest flare up in an ongoing gang violence problem in Utah.

Unified Police Department spokesman Lt. Brian Lohrke told Gephardt Daily three males were visiting the grave of 16-year-old Alan Hernandez-Lopez — reportedly the victim of gang violence — when the mourners were shot at from a vehicle.

An 18-year-old male was struck in the upper body and transported by a friend to Intermountain Medical Center in serious but stable condition. He has now been upgraded to good condition.

Hernandez-Lopez was gunned down while walking home from school Feb. 13. Joshua Jaeshawn Park, 20, was then arrested March 1 and booked into the Salt Lake City Metro Jail on suspicion of murder and felony discharge of a firearm, both first-degree felonies.
According to information released by the South Salt Lake Police Department, officers served a search warrant on Park’s home, and he admitted that on the day of the shooting, he was driving north on 300 East as Hernandez-Lopez was leaving the Granite School District sSTEP (an anti-drug program).

Park said he and Hernandez-Lopez exchanged gang signs and calls. Park said he then turned his car around and pulled up next to Hernandez-Lopez, and shot him. The teen died a few hours later in the hospital.

Then Saturday just after 1:30 p.m., three people visiting Hernandez-Lopez’ grave at 4555 S. Redwood Road were fired on by someone in a black sedan.

“They were fired upon by that vehicle as it was exiting the cemetery,” Lohrke said. “We had two witnesses that reported hearing gunfire, then saw three males running from the cemetery.”

The suspect or suspects in that case have not been apprehended, and at this time, the victim is choosing not to cooperate with investigators. Lohrke said the problem of gang violence is ongoing in Utah.

“I wouldn’t say it is getting worse, but it is a steady problem and this is another flare up,” Lohrke said. He said that the cycle of violence jumps jurisdictions, so it’s an issue that’s also being tackled by SSLPD and West Valley City Police Department, among others. “There is not a lot of cooperation and that makes our jobs very difficult, because they would rather try to solve their problems with violence.”

He said in the cemetery shooting case, investigators have a description of the car, but not the make, model or year of that vehicle.

“In reviewing surveillance video and witness accounts, what we have is a black, four-door sedan entering the cemetery,” he said. The car drove around a circular drive inside the cemetery.

Lohrke said anyone with information about the case is asked to call detectives at 801-743-7000, and callers will remain anonymous.

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


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