Police search for masked gunmen
Shootout may have been retaliation for a gang-related stabbing
TAYLORSVILLE Police on Friday were still searching for individuals involved in what they believe was a gang-related shootout in a residential neighborhood.
No one was injured in Wednesday's incident where witnesses and investigators estimate more than 20 rounds were exchanged with some stray bullets damaging a home near the targeted residence.
Investigators, who were searching for the perpetrators late Friday, said the gang-related incident was possibly retaliation from a previous case in South Salt Lake last week, where the son of the homeowner was involved in a stabbing.
"They suspected he was in the home at the time, his car was in the garage and they shot up the garage quite a bit," said Taylorsville Police Chief Larry Marx.
The incident began just before 10:30 p.m. when two men wearing masks broke into a house near 5500 South and 3300 West.
A 17-year-old girl inside "heard a tap on the window, looked outside, saw a man with a gun and told her mom to get downstairs," Marx said.
The masked men entered the house and apparently began firing as soon as they saw the girl and her mother run for the basement, Marx said.
What the two men may not have anticipated was that the woman's boyfriend was also in the house. He grabbed a 9 mm handgun and returned fire, he said.
The two retreated outside the house where a third masked man with a rifle began firing. The barrage of gunfire could be heard throughout the neighborhood. The two men ran off and another drove away, Marx said. He said police had recovered a couple guns from the scene but were still seeking leads on the men.
"I feel violated this could happen in my neighborhood," said Donna Stiffler. "You try to raise your kids in a good community. This freaks all the kids out."
Stiffler said she literally fell out of bed when she heard the gunshots and dialed 911 from the floor.
Some of the shots strayed into Christopher Eimers home. One bullet went though the upstairs wall and struck the television that his two brothers, ages 10 and 13, were watching.
"It could have hit them it if didn't hit the TV," he said. "It was scary."
Eimers said the three men ran to a waiting car driven by a fourth man. The group fired more shots at the house as they drove off in a white four-door vehicle.
"We've all seen that car before," Stiffler said.
Neighbors said the house where the shootout occurred is normally quiet and the residents don't cause any problems. But many reported seeing the get-away car parked at that address before, leading them to believe it wasn't a random home invasion.
Taylorsville Police Sgt. Rosie Rivera said detectives learned there were documented gang members inside the house earlier in the day prior to the shooting.
"We don't believe it was random, but we're looking at everything," she said.
Thursday, evidence of the shootout was plentiful. The garage had more than a half-dozen bullet holes, the window in the front door was shot out and more bullet holes could be found around the entry way.At Eimers' house, two windows from a camper parked in the driveway were shot out.
Contributing: Wendy Leonard
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