1 of 2
Adobe stock photo
A 17-year-old Kearns boy is one of two people charged Friday with murder in the shooting death of a man on Christmas Eve in a store parking lot.

WEST VALLEY CITY — A 17-year-old Kearns boy is one of two people charged Friday with murder in the shooting death of a man on Christmas Eve in a store parking lot.

David Ivan Diaz and 25-year-old Martin Daniel Diaz of South Salt Lake are each charged in 3rd District Court with first-degree felony murder, four counts of first-degree felony discharge of a firearm with serious bodily injury and three counts of second-degree felony discharge of a firearm with injury.

Court documents say the two are responsible for the gang-related shooting of 34-year-old Gary Hart in the parking lot of a West Valley Shopko, 4850 W. 3500 South, around 4 a.m. on Dec. 24. Hart died at the scene. Police reported Hart's wife and an unidentified minor were with him at the time of the shooting.

Two men accompanying Hart were also shot in the incident, according to the charges. Court documents say one of those men, Ernest Jones, was hit six times and severely injured. Jones suffered a punctured lung, a lacerated kidney, a broken vertebrae and a broken hip bone, according to the charges.

The third man who was shot, Dwight Malloy, suffered a graze wound to his back, the charges state.

West Valley police were told that Hart and the two other gunshot victims approached partygoers on the night of Dec. 23 in the area of 4700 West and 3100 South and asked them to leave the area because the event was too loud. They then drove around the neighborhood to see whether the partygoers had left the area, court documents say.

"Then they observed several people around a black Charger in the (Shopko) parking lot ... . They approached the group and ... exited the minivan. ... The Charger completed a U-turn to face the van and shots were fired," the charges state.

At least one of the men sitting in the Charger asked Hart either where he was from or what gang he belonged to, according to various witness accounts cited in court documents. When Hart answered, the men began shooting, the charges state. Witnesses gave conflicting statements as to whether one of both men inside the Charger opened fire.

Court documents indicate Ivan and Martin Diaz were originally in the area to give multiple people a ride following a "gang-related fight" that had occurred at the party previously. Their Charger was shot at as they left the area following the shooting of Hart and the others, the charges state.

Later on Dec. 24, police reported, officers were able to track down the Charger in question. Investigators were able to identify both Ivan and Martin Diaz as the people responsible for the shooting through that finding and through multiple witness accounts, the charges state. Both were arrested without incident.

Court documents indicate the two are related, but don't specify how closely.

An autopsy performed on Hart concluded that he died from multiple gunshots to the chest. Three different types of shell casings were found in the area where he was killed, according to West Valley police.

David Diaz has not previously been charged as an adult in Utah, according to court records. The Deseret News generally does not name juveniles in criminal cases unless they are charged in adult court.

Comment on this story

Court records show Martin Diaz pleaded guilty in Utah County Justice Court to DUI on Dec. 13 and was ordered to sign up for 45 days of GPS monitoring through the Utah County Jail. Records from that case indicate the GPS order was handed down as an alternative to 30 days in jail. Martin Diaz was also sentenced to a year of probation in the case.

Court records also show Martin Diaz pleaded guilty in March 2016 in another DUI case in Utah County. His other prior convictions include failure to stop at the command of law enforcement, failure to give name and assistance at an accident, attempted burglary of a vehicle and criminal trespass. He had never been charged with a felony in Utah before Friday, according to court records.