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Taylorsville neighbors stunned after double shooting

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 25 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

Shawn McNair, left, and Charles White talk Monday about neighbor Domingo Chavez-Lopez, who was shot to death Sunday.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

TAYLORSVILLE — Domingo Chavez-Lopez, 33, was considered by nearly everyone in his neighborhood to be a hard-working and a nice person.

His children were often seen riding their bicycles around their mobile-home park community near 4700 S. 800 West, with the other children in the area. When not riding their bikes, the children — ages 15, 12 and 11 — could most likely be found selling pepitos (flavored pumpkin seeds) on the sidewalk or jumping on the trampoline in their backyard with other neighbor children.

On Monday, however, the family's trailer was vacant. A basketball sat outside the family's front door, as well as two pairs of children's shoes.

On Sunday night, the seemingly happy family's lives were turned upside down in a rain of gunfire.

Lopez was shot and killed just after 9 p.m., when he went to answer a knock at his door at the Majestic Oaks community. He opened the door and was shot multiple times, said Taylorsville police detective Shannon Bennett. Lopez's wife rushed to his aid and was subsequently shot, too. Her injuries were not considered life-threatening, Bennett said.

The entire incident was witnessed by one of the children, who called 911, according to police.

"There were screams. All heck broke lose. It was a horrific sound. You could hear kids, you could hear adults," said neighbor Carol White.

Witnesses said they heard between four and six shots initially, followed by a pause, and then six to eight more shots.

Witnesses reported seeing a red late '80s to early '90s Toyota pickup truck leave the area in a rush.

"I saw it fly down the street," White said. "It went airborne when it hit our speed bump."

On Monday afternoon, Taylorsville homicide investigators asked for the public's help in locating Carmelo Alonso Mendoza, 21. Bennett said Mendoza was only a person of interest who detectives wanted to talk to and was not considered a suspect. Mendoza was last seen leaving the crime scene in a burgundy Maroon 1991 Toyota club cab pickup truck.

Police were not disclosing what the connection between Lopez and Mendoza might be, nor were they divulging a possible motive for the shooting. Bennett said witnesses did not recognize the gunman.

Neighbors were still shocked Monday over what had happened.

"Out of all the trailers on this street, that's probably the one I wouldn't have expected," said Cindy Miller.

She described the family's oldest son as a "polite" boy who would walk around the mobile-home park and offer to mow people's lawns.

"They are one of the nicest families," said neighbor Shawn McNair. "He's not a confrontational guy at all."

Lopez had recently purchased a new travel trailer and truck, McNair said. Lopez worked a construction job and got up every morning on time to get to work, the neighbor said.

Two weeks ago, McNair said Lopez's trailer home was burglarized while he was on vacation. In Monday's incident, investigators don't believe anything was taken.

Anyone with information on the slaying or Mendoza's whereabouts can call police at 801-743-7000.

e-mail: preavy@desnews.com

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