Monitor Drive shooting appears random, police say
An assailant shot a man Saturday in the parking lot of a Park City apartment complex in what investigators describe as a random shooting, an unusual case in a city that many consider generally safe from gun violence.
The victim was shot in the face at approximately 6:30 p.m., the Park City Police Department said. He was taken to a hospital in the Salt Lake Valley. The police said the victim was in stable condition early in the week. The Police Department did not release the victim’s name.
Officers arrested a 19-year-old man from Ephraim, Utah, within approximately 40 minutes. German Chavez faces preliminary charges of aggravated attempted murder, which is enhanced since the police say a weapon was used. He also faces charges of possession of a firearm by a restricted person and possession of a stolen firearm. The gun had been reported stolen outside of Utah, the Police Department said.
Formal charges had not been filed by Tuesday morning. The Summit County Attorney’s Office is screening the case, and sometimes formal charges do not match those that the police file initially. Summit County Attorney David Brickey was expected to file formal charges as early as late on Tuesday, his office said.
According to the Police Department, the 48-year-old victim was in a parking lot at 2200 Monitor Drive unloading his vehicle after returning from a vacation to the Wendover, Nev., area. The police said Chavez offered to sell the man some electronics, but the victim refused to buy the goods. Chavez then brandished a handgun and shot the man in the face, the police said.
Police Chief Wade Carpenter said the victim suffered a gunshot wound in the area of his mouth. He was shot at "very close range," Carpenter said. He said the victim claims he does not know the assailant.
"There is no reason to believe any thing (other) than it’s attempted homicide," Carpenter said.
Immigration officials have ordered Chavez held. He is locked up at the Summit County Jail at Silver Summit.
Carpenter said the victim on Sunday morning picked Chavez from a photo lineup as the assailant. He said Chavez does not have a criminal record. Investigators have not turned up evidence that the suspect has ties to Park City.
The police chief said investigators have gathered footage from a surveillance camera at the apartment complex that shows the confrontation. He said investigators have compiled "evidence that is pertinent to the case," but he declined to discuss whether the police have taken the gun into evidence.
"I think we’re in good shape. We have a good case," Carpenter said.
The police tracked Chavez using the surveillance footage. Carpenter said the footage from the scene of the shooting showed a vehicle similar to the Volkswagen Jetta Chavez was pulled over in between 30 and 40 minutes after the shooting.
Carpenter said the police found the Jetta driving close to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints property on Monitor Drive and stopped Chavez on Eagle Cove Drive, a small street on the northern edge of Park Meadows. The vehicle had expired tags, Carpenter said.
"It was good police work, I’ll tell you that," Carpenter said.
The authorities received a 911 call reporting the shooting. An emergency dispatcher said they could hear people arguing in the background during the 911 call, according to police logs.
The shooting is especially surprising given its apparent randomness, and gun violence is extremely rare in Park City. The last shooting inside Park City occurred in 2003 when a man was killed in an apartment after a night of partying and roughhousing.
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The Park City Planning Commission held a lengthy meeting about a development proposal at Park City Mountain Resort, centering the discussion on traffic and transportation.