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Shooter faces felony charges

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Prosecutors on Tuesday indicated in a court filing a suspected gunman pointed his weapon "directly at the victim’s face" during the Monitor Drive confrontation.

In a four-page filing, Summit County Attorney David Brickey levels four charges against German Chavez-Romero, the most serious being attempted murder, a first-degree felony. Brickey also charged Chavez-Romero with receiving stolen property, obstruction of justice and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person.

A first-degree felony carries a prison sentence of between five years and life and a $10,000 fine upon conviction. The other charges are felonies as well.

The filing indicates the victim put up his hand as the shot was fired. The filing says the bullet went through the man’s hand and hit his face.

The filing does not provide indications that the shooter targeted the victim for some underlying reason. Park City Police Department investigators have said the shooting appears to be a random act.

According to the filing, the victim, who survived the gunshot to the face, told investigators Chavez-Romero approached him in the parking lot at 2200 Monitor Drive wanting to sell the victim a laptop computer for $40. The victim told Chevez-Romero he did not want to buy the computer, prompting the defendant to pull a gun and shoot at the man’s face, the prosecutor said in the filing. A surveillance camera recorded the confrontation.

Investigators found a Walther-made handgun shoved into a snow bank close to the site of the shooting, the filing said. They also found a laptop computer in a nearby snow bank. The handgun was previously reported as being stolen in Las Vegas, prosecutors said.

While the police were at the scene, they saw a vehicle drive slowly by the location. Officers stopped the vehicle and found Chavez-Romero inside. He matched the description of the shooter, the filing said.

The victim later identified Chavez-Romero, who is 19 years old and from Ephraim, Utah, from a photo lineup. The victim was taken to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City. His condition was not available.

Bail has been set at $250,000, but immigration officials have ordered Chavez-Romero held. The filing indicates he is in the U.S. unlawfully. He is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 25. He has not entered a plea.

Brickey said he is confident in the case against Chavez-Romero. He said the defendant does not have a criminal record in Summit County, but investigators are researching whether he has a record elsewhere.

The county attorney said he is not aware of a prior relationship between the victim and the suspected shooter. The case appears to be a "random act of violence," Brickey said.

"We have physical evidence that we’ll be able to share with the jury that will comfortably establish the facts of the case," he said.

The court appointed David Shapiro to serve as Chavez-Romero’s public defender. Shapiro said he had not reviewed the case by Thursday and declined to comment further.


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