The boy lay bleeding on the slushy snow-covered parking lot as paramedics tried frantically to save his life.
Nearby, several women sobbed hysterically.
"My cousin was shot!" moaned Araceli Sanchez. Behind her, a group of children sat in a car, confused and crying.
Salt Lake City police are looking for whoever opened fire on two men Sunday night in the parking lot of the Sears store near 800 South and State Street. The shooting left a 16-year-old boy dead and critically wounded a man.
"Witnesses told us there were two people possibly in a white four-door Pontiac that pulled up, got out of their car and walked up with guns and just opened fire," said Salt Lake City Police Lt. Dave Hoffman. "We're still trying to figure out a motive for that."
Police said the Pontiac had a Utah license plate with a possible number/letter combination of 488 UTW. It fled from the scene southbound on State Street.
Just after the shooting, a man ran through the Sears store.
"They got on the loudspeaker and told everyone to get out. Everyone started running," said Dezi Hemingway, who was shopping in the store when the shooting occurred.
Police said the man was arrested but turned out to be a friend of the victims who was trying to get help. He was being questioned by police about the shooting.
"He's going to be a good witness for us," Hoffman said.
The slaying happened just a few feet away from a pair of taco carts. Some patrons, when approached by police and later a Deseret Morning News reporter, claimed to have seen nothing.
"Come on," an officer pleaded. "Who was here? None of you guys were here?"
At the crime scene, customers stood around stunned by what they saw. A red GMC Envoy was idling in the parking lot next to the victim, who was covered with a white sheet. Police said there appeared to be no altercation that led to the shooting.
"They just walked up and started opening fire," Hoffman said.Anyone with information on the shooting is urged to call Salt Lake City police at 801-799-3000.