KEARNS, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Joshua Belen, 20, was changing his life for the good.
The pastor of The Point Church near Kearns says Belen was recently baptized and was saddened to learn of his death.
“To hear about what happened (Sunday) is just heartbreaking for us,” said Pastor Corey J. Hodges.
Early Sunday morning word of Belen’s death was spreading among family and friends.
He was shot several times late Saturday night near the Kearns Olympic Oval skating rink.
His mother who lives in California was stunned to learn of his death.
“At first I thought it was a horrible prank,” said Deena Belen. “(I thought) that it couldn’t be real and then I went hysterical.”
Unified Police is investigating the shooting. A spokesman for the department said they are following up on tips received but to date have no suspects. Lt. Brian Lohrke also said they do not know if Belen was targeted of if he happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
For now, friends and family can only hope police find those responsible.
“I would love to see who ever shot and killed him go to jail and brought to justice and we can have some peace of mind,” said his mother.
His mother said Belen was overcoming personal problems, including jail time for assault. Pastor Hodges said Belen and his brother were attending attending services on a regular basis.
“He had gotten a job and he was getting over some issues that he was having, he wanted me to know,” said Hodges. “That Sunday he actually gave his life over to the Lord and was baptized here at the church.”
But on Saturday night, for some unknown reason Belen’s life was cut short, leaving behind broken hearts and wonderful memories for those who knew him.
“He had a huge heart,” said his mother Deena Belen. “He was always there helping friends. If a friend was depressed or needed someone to talk to, anything, he was always there.”
His mother has setup a GoFundMe account to help with funeral costs.