WEST VALLEY CITY (ABC4) — Shots were fired in a reported aggravated robbery of a swap meet in West Valley City earlier this evening, Mar. 25, according to West Valley City Police. The suspect’s whereabouts are currently unknown.
Police received a call around 5:50 p.m. reporting a death from a shooting at Salt Lake’s Indoor Swap Meet, however, once police arrived they determined there had been shots fired but no deaths. Police believe the miscommunication came from a possible language barrier.
Police confirmed multiple shots were fired, however only one victim was grazed by a bullet during the incident. “Mentally he’s shaken, but he’s physically overall doing just fine,” West Valley City Lieutenant Jason Vincent said.
As the shoppers heard the shots and ran out the doors, police say the suspect managed to “slip out” with the crowd. He was well covered, wearing a mask, similar to a bandana covering, glasses and a hat.
The suspect targeted one business and stole jewelry and a laptop, according to Vincent. Police are currently reviewing footage to help identify and track down the suspect.
Damiana Flores, a store vendor who was inside the building during the reported robbery said she initially thought it was a mass shooting. She said she and the other vendors hid inside their closets or behind their counters, sheltering a few others who had run from where the incident took place.
“We sheltered them, gave them emotional support, told them not to yell, not to cry, because we were afraid for their lives,” she said. “We thought if they stayed quiet, they’d be safer and would not be discovered where we were hiding them.”
Flores said the suspect appeared to know the building and the items they sold and likely had come previously. She heard the suspect fire five to eight times and feels blessed that no one was significantly injured.
Vincent said he has worked as an officer in the area for over two decades and has never responded to a shooting inside the swap meet. The business plans on opening again later today.