EPHRAIM, Utah (ABC4) — A man in Ephraim has been taken into custody after allegedly hitting another man with a pistol and firing his weapon into the nearby Ephraim City Fire Station on Thursday night.
The suspect, Joel Salas Vivas, 36, is several felony charges including attempted murder, felony discharge of a firearm in the direction of a person, obstruction of justice, and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person.
According to a booking affidavit, Vivas and another man got into an argument around 10 p.m. on June 8 at Canyon View Park located near 600 South and 100 East. Vivas said the other man had approached him and was “very aggressive,” saying he was going to kill him. Vivas explained he left the park, went home, and grabbed his gun before going back to the park to confront the man.
The altercation reportedly escalated from there. Witnesses reportedly told police Vivas pointed his gun directly at the man before he hit him in the head with the pistol. Vivas allegedly told police the pistol was fired at the same time as when he hit the man, fracturing his skull.
Everyone involved reportedly fled the park in separate cars by the time officers arrived. Police were able to locate two of the cars involved and pulled them over. During the stop, the man who was allegedly hit in the head got out of the car, bleeding severely from his left temple.
A woman that was with the man explained to the police what allegedly took place at Canyon View Park and contacted Vivas to come to the traffic stop to speak.
When Vivas arrived, Ephraim City Police detained him but didn’t find a gun after searching him and his car. Vivas told police what happened and said that after the incident he went back home and put the gun in his dresser.
Police took Vivas back to his house to retrieve the gun, but reported that it was not where Vivas said he left it. Vivas then allegedly asked the officer, “How are you going to charge me without evidence?”
An investigation of the scene reportedly found a single pistol cartridge casing matching the description of the gun Vivas allegedly used. A bullet hole was found at the Ephraim City Fire Station. According to the booking affidavit, the bullet traveled through the window, a set of blinds, and a metal filing cabinet, and lodged in the wall.
Vivas was booked into Sanpete County Jail on the above charges. The second man was taken to Sanpete Valley Hospital to be treated for his injuries.
Ephraim City Police said an investigation into the fight is still ongoing but it appears to be an isolated incident between the two men involved. Ephraim police said there is no reason to believe there is an ongoing threat to the public.
Charges are allegations only. All arrested persons are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.