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Murder charge filed in shooting between rival gang members

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 10 2013 7:20 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — A Taylorsville man has been charged with murder after a fist fight between rival gang members escalated to a shooting Aug. 31.

Donald Orlando Valdez, 29, was charged with murder, a first-degree felony, in 3rd District Court on Tuesday in the death of 28-year-old David Gonzales. Valdez also faces second-degree felony charges for obstructing justice and possession of a firearm by a restricted person.

Nicholas James Valdez, 27, a co-defendant in the case, is charged with two counts of felony discharge of a firearm, both second-degree felonies, and obstructing justice, a third-degree felony.

Donald and Nicholas Valdez were reportedly talking about gang ties and flashing gang signs at a party at 970 S. 300 West before a fist fight broke out between Nicholas Valdez and Gonzales, charges state. Police say Gonzales was a member of a different gang.

The fight continued outside the house, where Nicholas Valdez took a silver handgun from a small, black bag and fired two rounds, one into the air and one into the sidewalk, according to charging documents.

The incident was recorded on a nearby surveillance camera, and a small, black bag with a loaded Walther 9 mm handgun and several loose live rounds were recovered from some bushes, charges state.

A broken rosary similar to one Donald Valdez was photographed wearing at the party was located near Gonzales' body, along with two spent 9 mm rounds, according to charging documents. Gonzales was killed by a gunshot to the head.

Police also located a gray beanie and white T-shirt similar to what Donald Valdez wore to the party in an alley near the scene, as well as a Glock 19 pistol that had been hidden behind a piece of plywood, charges state. A woman confirmed to police that Donald Valdez always carries a black handgun.

Police located Donald Valdez with dried blood on his hands as he was running through a Target parking lot at 1110 S. 300 West, charges state.

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: McKenzieRomero

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