MIDVALE — An all-day manhunt for two men wanted in connection with a triple homicide and the shooting of a fourth person continued into the night Tuesday.
By Tuesday afternoon, Unified police investigators were no longer calling the duo "persons of interest" but directly called them "suspects" based on information received from witnesses.
Between 70 and 80 officers spent much of the day Tuesday searching for David Fresques, 25, and an unknown man he was believed to be with.
"It is a dangerous situation," said Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal.
Fresques is wanted in connection with three shooting deaths inside a Midvale house, 8286 S. Adams St. (450 West), just after 8 a.m Tuesday. Three people were killed and a fourth critically injured inside what police described as a "known narcotics house."
"When (officers) got here, they found three victims confirmed deceased at this residence. One was transported to the hospital, also having received wounds from a shooting as well," Hoyal said.
The names and ages of the victims were not released. Hoyal said the person sent to the hospital in critical condition is an adult woman. She was later upgraded to serious condition. The three slain victims are all adults, two women and one man.
The 911 call to police came from inside the house, either while the shooting was still happening or immediately after, he said. When police arrived, there was a man, a woman and a child inside who were not injured, in addition to the four victims.
"I was just like, 'Whoa, there's like 50 cops here. They're searching everyone,'" said Christopher Ivie, who lives across the street. "(They asked) if we saw anything, and no one really saw anything in my house."
Hoyal did not have a description of the second man, but based on interviews with witnesses and neighbors, detectives believe the two men were present when the shootings occurred. He also did not say what roles the two men may have played in the crime.
Fresques is a documented gang member, but Hoyal said it was unknown whether the shooting was gang-related, drug-related or something else. He noted, however, that police had been at the Midvale house last month as part of an "ongoing narcotics investigation."
"Our SWAT team served a search warrant at this home not too long ago for a narcotics investigation. We do know it's a known narcotics house," he said.
At least one neighbor said there was frequent short-term traffic at the house consistently.
Hoyal did not know if the victims lived in the house. Detectives were also investigating Tuesday how often Fresques may have visited the house and what his relation was to the victims.
According to Utah state court records, two renters of the house were currently in the process of being evicted. New filings were processed in court just a few days ago.
Jose C. Velazquez, the owner of the property, filed an eviction notice against Jose Fernando Garcia and Esther Arredondo. In his court filings, Velazquez claimed the occupants were behind on rent, had caused significant damage, had added roommates without permission, built two extra rooms in the backyard in addition to "trashing" the backyard. He also said the city of Midvale had sent him violation notices about storage in the front yard.
In their counterclaim, Garcia and Arredondo said the damage to the property was caused by police "when they served a search warrant in which Jose is being wrongfully accused of," according to court records.
Dozens of heavily armed officers, along with bloodhounds, went door-to-door in the neighborhood surrounding the shooting scene looking for the Fresques and the second man. Fresques was described as Hispanic, bald, 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 180 pounds.
The vehicle Fresques was believed to be driving was found a couple of hours after the shootings at the Motel 6 in Midvale, 7263 S. Catalpa Road. For several hours, police blocked off the area around the motel as a SWAT team went room to room looking for Fresques. They did not find him.
Hoyal said it was unknown whether Fresques walked away from the parking lot after ditching his car or if someone else picked him up.
Seven schools in the area — Midvale Middle School, Midvale Elementary, Sandy Elementary, Midvalley Elementary, Jordan Valley Elementary, Copperview Elementary and East Sandy Elementary — were temporarily put in lockdown as a precaution and officers were also dispatched to each school building.
The lockdowns were lifted after a couple of hours, but officers remained at each school for the remainder of the day as a precaution.
Hoyal emphasized that the lockdowns were ordered only as a precaution and said there was "no inherent threat to the schools."
Still, many were shaken by the highly visible presence of law enforcement.
"It makes me really scared knowing that this person is still at large and knowing he's still out there. I'm just filled with terror, and I hope my teachers and principal and all those people at school are OK," said Nick Gorton, a student at Copperview Elementary.
Some staying at Motel 6 also said they were nervous.
“With all the police, I feel safe with that. But with the shooting, the kids are terrified, and I don’t feel safe," said Lisa Madina. “We feel very scared because of the sniper situation. There are about six of them up on the top of the building across from us, and I’m right on the south side of the building. I’m facing all of this. I can see all of this."
Investigators also sought to obtain a search warrant to thoroughly go through the house where the shootings occurred. Fresques' vehicle was towed to a police evidence garage where a second warrant was expected to be obtained before investigators went through it.
According to Utah state court records, Fresques was sentenced to one to 15 years at the Utah State Prison in 2007 for robbery and simple assault. Most recently, he was charged with disorderly conduct and public intoxication in September. At that time, the court listed his address as a Main Street residence in Midvale, not far from the shooting scene.43 comments on this story
Fresques' criminal record also includes convictions for forgery in 2011 in which he was sentenced to one year in jail; forgery and a weapons violation in 2007; criminal trespassing on school property and possession of drug paraphernalia in another 2007 case in which he was sentenced to six months in jail; illegally carrying a concealed weapon in 2006; and disorderly conduct, also in 2006.
Anyone with information on Fresques or the killings is asked call police at 801-743-7000. Police say Fresques and the unknown man who assisted him should both be considered armed and dangerous.