Three shooting incidents resulting in three deaths and two injuries that occurred in just over 24 hours had investigators on opposite ends of Sat Lake County busy Thursday night and Friday morning.
Crystal Tijerina, 23, shot and killed herself about 6:15 p.m. Thursday and injured her 21-year-old ex-husband in an apparent murder-suicide attempt at the man's house near 1400 East and 3000 South.
Earlier in the day, Springville police issued an endangered person alert for Tijerina, saying she may be suicidal. Family members said she had been dealing with several personal issues and seemed discouraged when she left home for work Wednesday. She also left a note for her parents that caused them concern, according to police.
Tijerina showed up at the man's house, even though he had a protective order against her. The order also extended to a 2-year-old boy who was inside the house, said Salt Lake City Police Sgt. John Beener. Police were called by neighbors to the house, but by the time they arrived she was gone. Police searched the area but could not find her, he said.
At that time, Beener said the meeting between Tijerina and the man did not raise any red flags.
"It seemed to be a neutral confrontation. There were no violent outbursts," he said. Nevertheless, the man had the 2-year-old leave the house with family and friends.
About 30 minutes later, Tijerina returned. The officer who responded to the first incident was still around the corner writing his report when a neighbor called police again. This time, the dispute between Tijerina and the man had escalated. She displayed a handgun and fired at him while he was running out the door, according to police.
A bullet grazed the man's neck and earlobe. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment and was released.
When police arrived, a SWAT team surrounded the house, not knowing the status of Tijerina and believing she was still armed. When SWAT members went inside, they found her dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Beener said.
The woman was arrested several times in 2006 for charges that included disorderly conduct, custodial interference and violation of a protective order, according to court documents. There was also a paternity suit and a claim of cohabitant abuse filed against her, according to court records.
That incident followed another domestic violence shooting in Draper that wasn't discovered until Thursday morning.
The bodies of Daniel H. Richards and his wife, Lynn A. Richards, were found in a bedroom of their home near 14300 South and 950 East by construction workers. The Richardses were having their home remodeled.
Investigators believe Daniel Richards shot his wife multiple times before killing himself with a single gunshot.
Police were called to the home Wednesday night by neighbors who reported they could hear the couple fighting. When officers arrived, no one answered the door, and they could not hear any noise from inside, said Draper Police Sgt. Gerry Allred.
On Friday, Allred said that a note was found inside the Richards' house on their kitchen table. The handwritten note wasn't necessarily a suicide letter, Allred said, but it did seem to paint a gloomy picture. The note said such things as, "I love my family," "I just can't take this any more" and "I'm sorry I failed you."
It was not clear Friday for whom the note was intended or exactly when it was written.
Police also said that Daniel Richards had some strong prescribed pain medications in the house for back problems. Family and friends told investigators that they had noticed in the past that Richards acted a little different when he took his painkillers. It was unknown, however, if the medications were a factor in the shooting. Autopsies were completed Friday, but toxicology results wouldn't be returned for a few weeks, Allred said.
The third shooting happened just before 2:30 a.m. Friday near 400 North and 1200 West. A man was found shot in the back and was transported to a local hospital in critical condition, Beener said. Investigators Friday were having trouble finding witnesses, and some of the information conflicted, he said.The search continued Friday for suspects in the shooting. Anyone with information can call police at 799-INFO.
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