Unified Police ID Magna murder suspect, found 117 miles away from scene

Unified Police officers and detectives are investigating a shooting that left one man dead after a confrontation at a barbecue in Magna on Friday night, May 28, 2021. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

MAGNA, Utah, May 29, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Unified Police officials have released the name of the man arrested after a fatal shooting at a barbecue in Magna.

The suspect is 44-year-old Magna resident Juan Alvarez, who was found by police hours later and about 117 miles away. He is facing initial charges of:

  • Aggravated murder, a first-degree felony
  • Failure to stop at the command of a law officer, a third-degree felony
  • Carrying a dangerous weapon under the influence of alcohol/drugs, a class B misdemeanor
  • DUI with blood alcohol level at or over .05, a class B misdemeanor

Police responded to a 9:45 p.m. call of shots fired and arrived at the scene, at 8270 Westbury Drive, in Magna.

“The complainant reported hearing gun shots fired and then multiple cars driving out of the area in a crazy manner,” says a probable cause statement filed in Alvarez’s case. “The complainant also reported hearing screaming and commotion coming from the area.

“Officers arrived on scene and found one male bleeding from the face and was not responsive. Officers checked on the male and found he was deceased.”

A shell casing was found about 25 feet from the victim.

“Officers spoke to several witnesses on scene and found there were three witnesses and a video of the incident,” the probable cause statement says.

Witnesses said Alvarez had been at the address for a barbecue with the homeowner, who told police the suspect had been arguing over the phone with the male victim.

The victim showed up at the house, and suspect Alvarez met the victim outside, the statement says.

“The homeowner said Juan shot (the victim) as soon as he got out of the car,” the affidavit says. “The homeowner provided a Ring doorbell cam video of the incident.”

Detectives watched two videos, the first showing the victim exit a car and walk toward the house, and the suspect hold up a gun and fire one round at the victim.

“The male victim falls forward and lands on the grass. The second video shows the male suspect pacing around for a short time and then walks over to the victim and kicks him. The suspect puts the gun in the back of his pants and the video ends,” the police statement says.

Juan Alvarez was found hours later, driving southbound on Interstate 15 near Scipio, Utah. He was located by cellphone pings.

“When detectives activated their emergency lights and sirens in attempt to pull Juan Alvarez over, he failed to yield,” the statement says.

“Detectives utilized spikes in order to get Juan Alvarez to stop fleeing. Juan was found to have red blood stains on both the right and left shoe when taken into custody. Detectives reported Juan has a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his person.”

Alvarez was read his Miranda Rights, and elected not to speak to detectives. He is being held without bail at the Salt Lake County Jail due to the seriousness of the crime, the strength of the evidence, and the facts that he was attempting to flee and he has multiple contacts in his native California.

Police have not yet released the name of the victim.


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