1 of 2
Nicole Vowell, Deseret News
A third person involved in a deadly shootout inside a sport utility vehicle in the middle of a South Salt Lake street died Saturday.

SOUTH SALT LAKE — A third person involved in a deadly shootout inside a sport utility vehicle in the middle of a South Salt Lake street died Saturday.

Armando Cuenca-Curiel, 17, of South Salt Lake, was shot and killed Thursday night inside a Ford Explorer stopped in the middle of the road at 325 E. Park Creek Lane (3060 South).

Two brothers also found inside the vehicle with gunshot wounds were hospitalized with life-threatening conditions. Police have not released the names of either man, but members of Armando's family and posts from friends on Facebook identified them as Raul Lopez, 19, and Angel Lopez, 20.

Raul Lopez died at a local hospital Friday night.

Pedro Rafael Curiel, an uncle of Armando, said Saturday that the Lopez family planned to take Angel Lopez off life support Saturday. By Saturday night, messages of "RIP" were being posted on social media in memory of Angel Lopez.

By late Saturday night, South Salt Lake police officer Gary Keller confirmed the 20-year-old man had passed away.

The three were close friends. Their families were from the same town in Mexico, Curiel said, and the children grew up with each other after moving to Utah.

Family members lit candles and held a vigil for Armando on Saturday, ending with the release of balloons.

"Just to let his spirit free. Let him go up to heaven and God," Curiel said.

He and other family members wore T-shirts with Armando's photograph on them Saturday, with the words, "In loving memory." He called Armando a "good kid" with a good sense of humor. Curiel said his nephew was not into gangs. Instead, he was involved with Muay Thai boxing, a form of mixed martial arts, and wanted to turn professional and become a world champion someday.

"We're trying to get past the whole pain part. At the beginning we had a lot of rage. (Some) just can't get over it. But I learned to accept it all ready. I have no anger toward anybody anymore. What happened, happened. But we're still trying to get over it," Curiel said.

Armando had been a student at Cottonwood High School but was attending Connection High School at the time of his death.

While Armando and the Lopez brothers were close, Pedro Curiel said he did not know the fourth shooting victim who came out of the SUV.

That man, 19, whose last known address was in Florida, showed up at a local hospital about 2 ½ hours after the shooting, according to police. Investigators believe he was picked up in one vehicle at the scene, got passed around in a couple of cars, and ended up being taken to the hospital by another man, possibly his girlfriend's father, Keller said.

That man was shot in the thigh, he said. His condition is not believed to be life-threatening, but he remained hospitalized Saturday. Police have not released his name, either.

Keller said investigators believe all of the gunshots came from inside the SUV. Police were still piecing together on Saturday what happened and who was the aggressor. But he noted that detectives believe all the people who were inside the Explorer at the time of the shooting are accounted for.

Curiel said he doesn't know what happened but heard that Armando may have been shot while trying to get the gun away from whoever started it.

"He just got caught with the wrong people at the wrong time," he said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Armando's family with funeral expenses.

Curiel said the emotional pain he and his family feel is worse than having a physical injury.

"I'm hoping that we can get through this pain as quickly as possible because I just can't take it. It's something I'd never imagined I'd go through," he said.

Email: [email protected]; [email protected]

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam