Suspect arrested in shooting at mass Utah Lake gathering; 2 men hit by same bullet at permit-less ‘rodeo’ attended by thousands

Ambulance. File photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

SPANISH FORK, Utah, Sept. 5, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — A man Utah County Sheriff officials believe was involved in a Sunday night shooting near Utah Lake is in custody.

According to Sgt. Spencer Cannon, of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, Cesar Matias Sevilla-Aleman is being held on unrelated charges while officials process evidence in the case.

Cannon said the shootings were reported just after 9 p.m. Sunday. Officers reported to the area of 6767 Lincoln Beach Road, where they had been told a small birthday party for family and friends was planned, Cannon said.

When officers arrived, they soon realized it was anything but a small party; it was actually  a rodeo, Cannon said. The event had been advertised, had scheduled bands in addition to entertainment-oriented rodeo performances, and was serving alcohol without a permit.

The event had drawn at least a couple thousand attendees, maybe more, Cannon said.

“They were downplaying the size of it,” he said, adding that he saw at least a couple hundred cars and trucks packed with passengers, some sitting on the laps of others.

The shooting victims were a man who was critically injured with a gunshot to the lower abdomen. A second man was struck in the lower arm, apparently by the same bullet, Cannon said.

The man with the shot to his arm was reported in fair condition, and expected to recover. The man shot in the abdomen was transported in critical condition, and on Monday was listed as critical, but stable.

Both victims and the suspected shooter are believed to be in their 20s, Cannon said.

Multiple people at the event were interviewed, and once a witness gave a description of the suspect’s car, a deputy realized he had just spoken to a man and woman in such a vehicle, Cannon said.

“And he said ‘Wow, that was the car I just talked to.””

The deputy said the man and woman had seemed, “out of sorts,” but the officer had nothing to hold them on, Cannon said.

The man, an Orem resident, was later taken into custody and is being held on an Immigrations and Customs enforcement charge, an NCIC (National Crime Investigation Center) warrant out of Denver, and a Colorado weapons offense, Cannon said.

The man lied about his identity to UCSO officers who questioned him, Cannon said. Charges linking him directly to the Utah County shootings are pending.

Other people attending the rodeo told officers they heard the gunshot, but did not witness the shooting. Cannon said officers hope to interview the critically injured victim Monday for details on exactly what transpired.

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