Police: $75k warrant issued for Utah man who robbed, shot at teen walking home from school

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) A $75k arrest warrant has been issued for a 19-year-old man who police believe shot at, then robbed a teen as he walked home from school last week.

According to charging documents, a 17-year-old told police he was walking home from school on January just before 3 p.m. near Edison Street and Cleveland Avenue when a man driving a red Jeep Wrangler pulled up next to him, exited the Jeep and rapidly approached him as he fired a round toward him.

The boy said he dropped to the ground as the man demanded him to give him his belongings and forcibly pulled off his backpack, documents state.

Police said the backpack contained the boy’s school ID card, his wallet, his debit card and some cash.

The teen said the man jumped back into the Jeep and fled northbound on Edison Street to the Department of Workforce Services parking lot. He was able to give a description of the man to investigators.

Police obtained a photo of the Jeep from the security cameras at the Department of Workforce Services and it was sent out to officers to help locate the Jeep and the suspect, according to documents. 

Two days later, a Salt Lake City Police officer located a red Jeep Wrangler and followed it to a home on Garn Way. The driver, identified as Eleveni King Mikavaipapalang Latu, then entered the home.

The Jeep matched the description of the vehicle involved in the robbery and had an expired registration, so a search warrant was issued on the home and the Jeep.

During the search, a handgun was located in a locked box inside the garage along with a metal lockbox behind the back seat of the Jeep which contained clothing items that matched the description of what the teen said the suspect was wearing, documents state.

During an interview with police, Latu said he worked until 5:30 p.m. the night of the robbery and then went straight home, but detectives contacted his work where they found he left shortly after 2:30 p.m., according to documents.

After being confronted with the time difference, Latu then stated he forgot he went to the cemetery to visit his aunt and then went home. Latu later admitted the Jeep in the security photos was his and he is the only one who drives it and no one else had access to it on January 28, 2020, documents state.

Latu was charged on Tuesday with first-degree felony aggravated robbery and third-degree felony discharge of a firearm.

A background check on Latu shows little criminal history since he turned 18 and juvenile records are not available to the public.

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