Update: Man killed in Millcreek shooting may have been defending intended victim

Unified Police investigators on the scene of a deadly shooting in Millcreek. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner; booking photos for Edgar Esquivel (left) and Alekzander May from Salt Lake County

MILLCREEK, Utah, Aug. 14, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Officials said the man fatally shot in Millcreek in the early hours of Wednesday morning may have been defending the intended victim.

The deceased man is 31-year-old Taylor Kauvaka, of Salt Lake City.

The jailed suspects in the case are Alekzander Ethan May, 18, of Midvale, and Edgar Omar Esquivel, 19, of West Jordan. Each faces a preliminary charge of murder, a first-degree felony. Esquivel is also facing a charge of obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony.

Both suspects are being held without bail in the Salt Lake County Jail.

A probable cause statement for Esquivel was released Wednesday.

The statement, from the 3rd District Court of Salt Lake County, said May approached police in the area after the shooting stating that he knew what happened and could show police where the gun was. May provided information to police and was booked into jail.

“Multiple witnesses were on scene when the shooting took place,” the statement said. “One witness reported he had gotten into a verbal altercation with a male on Facebook under the name of Jokie Dinero. ‘Jokie Dinero’ threatened to rape, drown and kill the witnesses’ infant child. The witness and ‘Jokie’ arranged to meet up to settle the dispute and it was arranged to meet near the Sunnyvale Apartment complex, located at 764 W. 3940 South.”

The witness, along with four others, met up with “Jokie Dinero,”who turned out to be Esquivel, who was with May. An argument ensued between the witness and “Jokie” when the victim, Taylor Kauvaka, intervened after May pulled a shotgun from a cardboard box, the statement said.

“Taylor placed himself in front of said witnesses and slapped the gun which was being pointed in his direction,” the statement said. “Alekzander fired a single shot resulting in Taylor’s death.”

Esquivel was picked up in the area where the deceased man was located, by his family, shortly after the shooting had occurred, the statement said. Esquivel told his family who picked him up that he had information on the homicide.

“Esquivel was brought to the Sheriff’s Office building by his family, he then requested a lawyer before speaking with detectives,” the statement said. “Edgar’s family confirmed the ‘Jokie Dinero’ Facebook account belongs to Edgar. The profile photograph on the ‘Jokie Dinero’ Facebook account is a photo of Edgar Esquivel.”

The shoes in the profile picture of said account are blue Converse shoes, which Esquivel was wearing at the time of his arrest, the statement said. Esquivel was also wearing a pair of prescription glasses which are similar if not identical to the glasses in the profile photo of the “Jokie Dinero” account.

This Facebook account has been disabled; it is believed to have been disabled shortly after the shooting had occurred.

“While Edgar’s family was speaking with him in an audio/video recorded interview room at the Sheriff’s Office building, Edgar requested his mother to delete everything on his phone,” the statement said.

A probable cause statement filed in May’s arrest adds more details:

“On Aug. 14, 2019, a male was found deceased having been shot. A male identified as Alekzander May approached police in the area after the shooting stating that he knew what happened and could show police where the gun was.

“May took police to where the gun was, and made a spontaneous statement that he had just shot someone. May was then transported to the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office building by a detective. While enroute May made a second spontaneous statement that he had shot somebody, this was audio recorded.”

May told officers that “… he had shot a male point blank in the chest with a shotgun. The information that May provided in a recorded statement to detectives match details of the scene and death of the male found.”

The shooting happened just before 2 a.m. Wednesday, Sgt. Melody Gray, public information officer for Unified Police, told Gephardt Daily at the scene, 3900 S. 700 West.

When police arrived they found Kauvaka, lying on the ground outside the Sunnyvale Apartments, the victim of a gunshot wound.

According to Gray, police attempted CPR until medical help arrived but were unable to revive the Kauvaka. He was declared dead at the scene.



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