Brian Nicholson, Deseret Morning News
Friends of a 23-year-old shooting victim embrace near the vehicle used to transport the man to the hospital early Wednesday.

A 23-year-old man was sent to the hospital in critical condition after a shooting in a Rose Park neighborhood late Tuesday night.

The man apparently was shot in the back, and the bullet exited through his neck, said Salt Lake Police Lt. Isaac Atencio.

A friend attempted to drive the wounded man to a hospital but stopped his Dodge SUV near Main Street and North Temple to wave down a firetruck, Atencio said.

The man was transported to a Salt Lake hospital for surgery, police said. The man's name has not been released. He was still in serious to critical condition Wednesday evening, said Salt Lake Police Detective Jeff Bedard.

Friends of the victim wept and embraced each other on the street corner while police sorted through evidence early Wednesday morning.

The details, police said, were vague.

Early reports from the victim's friends said a silver minivan stopped near 900 W. North Temple, and the occupants pepper-sprayed two girls and shot the man.

Investigators said neither the address nor the story held up.

"Right now that's looking to be a story made up to throw us off," Atencio said. "The stories right now are a little convoluted. We've got three different folks in the vehicle, and each one is telling a different story."

Police said the shooting took place in a Rose Park neighborhood but would not give an approximate address.

Officers found multiple bullet holes and blood inside an apartment, Atencio said.

"I think we'll have some pretty good leads to go on," Atencio said.