Teens in custody after shots fired in mall parking lot, West Valley City police say

West Valley City Police car. File photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah, June 7, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Bullets flew, but luckily only a car was hit in the parking lot of Valley Fair Mall Monday night, after an alleged confrontation between shoppers and wanna-be gang members, according to West Valley City police.

Events began to unfold around 7 p.m. as two mall shoppers encountered a pair of teens police say turned out to be gang members making random inquiries from passing mall-goers

Tensions rose when the shoppers trying to drive from the mall were confronted by the two teens, ages 16 and 17, brandishing firearms and saying they would shoot.

“The driver floored it,” West Valley City Lt. Bill Merritt said. “Which he had every right to do when faced with lethal force.”

One teen was struck by the car while the other opened fire on the vehicle, bullets hitting it at least twice.

“They were both threatening to shoot at the people in the vehicle,” Sgt. Gabe Bier said of the incident.

Both were arrested; the injured teen treated by medical personnel and deemed well enough for booking, along with his cohort.

It wasn’t immediately clear, police said, what the teens meant to do in approaching the couple, who were in their early 20s.

And it wasn’t immediately clear if the pair thought they had encountered colleagues or rivals. Bier and Merritt said teens kept asking, “Who you banging with?”

The shoppers were also asked several times, “‘What’s good?'” Merritt said. “I guess that another way of asking what gang are you with.”

Whatever their intent, Merritt said it’s likely the two teens enhanced their gang status for initiating the violent incident.

Charges in the incident are forthcoming.


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