Two suspects arrested in mall shooting ‘admit’ to crime

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MURRAY, Utah (ABC4 News) – It was a shootout between two rival gang members.
That’s what Murray police are now saying about Sunday’s Fashion Place Mall shooting.

And in a twist, police also said the two people wounded were also members of a rival gang.

Early Monday, police arrested two 19-year-olds for their involvement.

It’s was around 1:30 Sunday afternoon when the alarms went off.  Authorities thought it was a possible active shooter at the mall. Police from all over the valley responded

On Broadcastify.com police could be heard responding.
Police:  “Location in the mall, please.?  
Dispatch:  “It sounds like it’s possibly going to be in Dillard’s.  But I’m trying to verify right now.”

A man and a woman in their 20s were shot and lying on the ground outside the doors leading into the mall.

Matthew Thomas offered to help and even talked to them.

“I was asking them (who shot them) and the guy said he didn’t know,” Thomas said.

But Monday, Murray police said those on the ground knew who shot them. The victims and the shooters were rival gang members.

“Everyone involved in the shooting was a member of one or the other of the gangs,” said Kenny Bass with Murray police.  “There were no bystanders that were struck.”

According to police scanner traffic, the suspects fled right after the shooting.

Police:  “Gunfire.  Bad guys took off on foot, east of the parking lot towards Fashion.  That’s the last we got.”
Police: “Do we have a physical description of the suspects?”
Dispatch:  “All we have is gray hoodies, two males.”

But authorities worked throughout the night and by Monday morning, the two 19-year-old were in the Salt Lake County jail.  Jesus Payan-Mendoza, of Heber City, and Jorge Gonzalez, of Park City, were arrested and a judge denied them bail.

“The court finds that (Gonzalez and Payan-Mendoza) would constitute a substantial danger to other persons or to the community or is likely to flee the jurisdiction of the court if released on
bail,”  according to documents filed with the jail.

According to a probable cause statement, both teens “admitted to being affiliated with the gang and criminal activity that resulted in the attempted homicide of two victims.”

Detective Bass said the investigation is continuing and others are being sought and more arrests are possible.
For now, he said they don’t know which of the two arrested shot the two who were wounded.  Bass said they also don’t know whether the two who were wounded had guns and also shot at the suspects.

Police agencies from all over the valley came to the aid of Murray police.  Once there, Bass said everyone worked together to avoid confusion and kept the public safe.

“I think they handled it extremely well,” Bass said. “It was an extremely fast response and how quickly they jumped into it and were able to assist in the investigation.”

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