MAGNA, Utah -- An early Sunday morning car chase through Magna ended with the car slamming into the senior center.
Unified Police Department officers thought they were chasing possible suspects in a drive-by shooting, but it turns out they’d been pursuing the alleged victims.
A smattering of bullet holes splatter metal and glass on vehicles that line the area of 2969 South 9150 West.
Stacy Chynoweth lives a few houses down, and he said he nearly witnessed the shooting.
“I got up this morning, let my dog out," he said. "I heard three shots right off the bat, then there was a pause, and either four or five more.”
What he was hearing was a drive-by shooting, reportedly targeting a Magna home.
Unified Police Department said shots rang out while people partied inside a residence around 6:30 a.m.
“The individuals inside of the house became scared,” Detective Chuck Malm said. “They left the house.”
He said they loaded into a car and took off. At the same time, police showed up.
“Officers coming into area, based on the call we had received of shots being fired, they located this Passat trying to leave area,” he said. “They attempted a traffic stop.”
Instead of stopping, the car sped off down the road, eventually crashing into the senior center a few blocks away.
That’s when police discovered they’d been chasing the alleged victims.
“The reason why they didn't stop for the officers is, we suspect, because they all had warrants for their arrest," Malm said. "They were in possession of illegal drugs."
Officers took two men, a woman and a juvenile male into custody.
They’ve released the names of the three adults—19-year old Siprieno Molina, 19-year old Rodimiro Burquez, and 23-year old Cristina Ramos.
The juvenile has only been identified as a 15-year old male.
Det. Malm said the four reportedly haven’t been cooperating with police, even though they were the ones who were supposedly shot at.
“We do suspect, based on this investigation, that this may be gang-related,” he said.
For residents like Chynoweth, who just moved in a few weeks ago, it’s unsettling to hear of possible gang gunfire right in his neighborhood.
“It`s a little too close to home,” he said. “I’m glad none of these kids got hit or injured or anything. I’m glad these vehicles was right in the road right there [sic]. I’m happy nobody got hurt. I’m really happy.”
Unified Police are now looking for the actual people who fired those shots.
He said the only information they have is that a silver or gray car was seen leaving the area.
Det. Malm said anyone with information on the shooting should call 801-743-7000.
In the meantime, Molina, Burquez and Ramos sit in jail on several charges.
Molina was arrested for failure to stop or respond at command of police, failure to stop at command of law enforcement, interference with an arresting officer, DUI—as an alcohol or drugs combo, and reckless driving.
Burquez faces interference with an arresting officer, failure to stop at command of law enforcement; use or possession of drug paraphernalia; controlled substance schedule I or II; purchase, possess, consume by minor—measurable amounts, and open container in vehicle on highway.
Ramos was arrested for possession with intent to distribute.
Malm said the juvenile was booked into the juvenile detention center on a pickup order.