Sunday, January 6, 2008

Diversity Watch: Two Suspected Hispanic Gangbangers Sought In Fatal Shooting At El Toro Taco Stand In Salt Lake City

Special Note: Updated media reports posted on January 7th by the Deseret Morning News and KSL Channel 5 show changes to the original story, as well as some useful additions. This post, originally published on January 6th, republished on January 7th to include the changes, which are posted in green.


KTVX Channel 4 in Salt Lake reported on January 6th, 2007 that two Hispanic males, driving a white four-door 1991 Chrysler New Yorker sedan with a broken front passenger window jury-rigged with plastic and duct tape, and with Utah license plate 488 UTN (originally reported as a Pontiac with license 488 UTW), are being sought in the shooting of two victims of Hispanic origin at a taco stand in downtown Salt Lake City. One of the suspects is described as in his 20s, about 5 feet 8 inches, 165 pounds with short hair that is curly on top. He was last seen wearing a black hoodie and blue jeans. KUTV Channel 2, the Deseret Morning News, and KSL Channel 5 have also picked up the story.

The crime took place around 5:00 P.M. MST at the corner of 700 South and State Street. Three men in their teens and early twenties pulled up to the Sears parking lot to get dinner at the El Toro taco stand (pictured above left). Shortly afterwards, two men in a white Pontiac pulled up behind them, drew pistols and shot them. Two of the three victims were hit. One of them, 16-year-old Diego Mendoza, a sophomore at Granger High School, was shot in the head and killed at the scene. The other victim is 23-year-old Eder Orona, shot in the chest but now at University Hospital in stable condition.

The third person, who was unhurt, ran into the adjoining Sears store and called police, who responded forthwith. Police are still questioning that third person, as well as several other witnesses in the area. In addition to providing a description of the perps and their vehicle, the witnesses reportedly told police that there was no confrontation or anything else out of the ordinary, but police believe gang activity is a possibility. "There are some indications it could be gang-related," Salt Lake City Police detective Jared Wihongi told the Deseret Morning News. "Right now, it's a little premature to say for sure."

Salt Lake police are asking for anyone's help in tracking down these suspects. Again, they are looking for two Hispanic males driving a white four-door 1991 Chrysler New Yorker with Utah license plate 488 UTN. One of the males in his 20s, about 5 feet 8 inches, 165 pounds with short hair that is curly on top. He was last seen wearing a black hoodie and blue jeans. They ask anyone who has information or who witnessed the event to call the Salt Lake Police Department at 801-799-3000.

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