Despite several community meetings and calls late last week to curb the problem of gang violence in the Glendale area, another violent incident was reported in the neighboring community of Poplar Grove early Saturday.
This incident was disturbing because it appeared to be a possible case of mistaken identity, police said.
Just before 2 a.m., several people approached a party near 1400 West and 750 South and fired multiple shots down the driveway and into the backyard, said Salt Lake police detective Rick Wall. At least two people were hit in the upper thighs and taken to local hospitals in critical condition. A third person was grazed by a bullet and received only minor injuries.
Due to a rapid response by police, officers were in the area within two minutes of receiving the 911 call, Wall said.
A SWAT team and gang officers were called out to surround the area. A police K9 also tracked a suspect to an area that confirmed the suspicions of gang officers on who the suspects were.
Seven people were found hiding in a garage just down the street from where the shooting took place. A total of nine people were taken to police headquarters for questioning. Six people were arrested, including the alleged shooter. The gun believed to have been used in the shooting also was recovered, Wall said.
The six arrested are documented gang members, including the shooter, who has a history of gang involvement, Wall said. Police were still investigating Monday whether the victims had any gang ties.
The shooter apparently mistook one of the victims at the party for a rival gang member, Wall said.
Late last week, several meetings were held to address the growing gang issue, including The Romero Alternative, a new group aimed at reaching out to at-risk juveniles before they join gangs. Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker also met with community leaders and law enforcers in his office Thursday to discuss developing a plan to combat gang violence.
All of these meetings come on the heels of two high-profile, gang-related homicides this year in which innocent victims were killed. Family Dollar Store manager Wally Knapton was shot and killed during a robbery in March, and 7-year-old Maria Del Carmen Menchaca was killed during a drive-by shooting.