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Two charged in South Salt Lake shooting death

Published: Tuesday, July 22 2014 4:05 p.m. MDT

Two men arrested in connection with the gang-related shooting death of a man in late June have now been charged with the crime.

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SOUTH SALT LAKE — Two men arrested in the gang-related shooting death of a man in late June have now been charged in connection with the crime.

Irving Nunez, 20, of West Valley City, and Ernesto Navarro, 19, of South Salt Lake, were each charged Monday in 3rd District Court with murder, obstructing justice and two counts of illegally discharging a firearm resulting in injury, all first-degree felonies; and five additional counts of illegally discharging a firearm, all second-degree felonies.

Bail was set at $1 million.

A third person who was arrested in connection with the incident, Irvin Esequel Munoz, 19, had not been charged as of Tuesday afternoon.

On June 23, Francisco Antonio Colon, 40, of West Valley City, was shot and killed near 109 East Helm Ave. (3645 South) while sitting in the driver's seat of a Chevy Avalanche. A second person inside the vehicle was also shot and injured.

Investigators believe Nunez and Navarro were in another vehicle and flashed gang signs at Colon and his six passengers, according to charging documents. Munoz told investigators that after the confrontation, he drove Navarro and Nunez to Navarro's apartment to retrieve guns, according to the charges. The group then went to a nearby alley to hide.

Later, when the Avalanche stopped near the alley on Helm Avenue, at least 12 shots were fired by people in the alley at the Avalanche, the charges stated.

Seven .40-caliber shell casings and five 9 mm casings were recovered by police at the scene.

Neither Munoz, Nunez nor Navarro are strangers to law enforcement.

In March, Munoz was charged in 3rd District Court with possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, a third-degree felony.

Munoz was a passenger in a vehicle pulled over by Unified police. Officers found an AK-47 loaded with 28 rounds of ammunition under his seat, according to court records. Munoz told detectives that he had bought the weapon "off the streets" for $200 "for protection since he hangs out with a Surenos gang," charging documents state.

In February, Navarro was charged in 3rd District Court with drug distribution, a second-degree felony. In that incident, officers stopped a vehicle Navarro was driving on State Street and could smell Spice, according to court records. Munoz was in the passenger seat. While searching Navarro, investigators found 18 balloons of heroin in his pockets, the charges state, and Spice was also found in the vehicle.

While police were talking to Navarro, Munoz got out of the car and ran, according to court documents. As he was running away, he allegedly dropped a handgun on the street. Munoz was charged with failing to stop at the command of law enforcement and having a loaded firearm in a prohibited area.

In September, Navarro pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault in Taylorsville Justice Court. He was sentenced to probation but then failed to attend subsequent court hearings and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He showed up for court on Wednesday.

Most recently, Navarro was the passenger in another traffic stop on June 30. He had a handgun in his waistband at the time, a jail report states. Detectives also questioned Navarro about the homicide at that time and said he gave them "false and misleading statements" about what happened.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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