CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Police say West Valley City man planned mass shooting during SLC protest

Jun 2, 2020, 8:05 PM

(Yuri Silva. Salt Lake County Jail)

(Yuri Silva. Salt Lake County Jail)

WEST VALLEY CITY – Police believe they stopped a mass shooting from happening at Monday evening’s rally in Salt Lake City.  They say two men were stopped while they were on the way to kill police officers.

West Valley officers and FBI agents were reportedly warned about threats being made by Yuri Silva, 27, through social media.  Police affidavits say Silva posted a video that mocked the city’s curfew, and that he posted other messages saying he knew police were watching his Facebook page. 

Department Spokesperson Roxeanne Vainuku says Silva posted several messages that he wanted to kill cops.

“He threatened to use firearms.  He had encouraged others to take up arms against police as well,” she says.

Silva had reportedly made threats to police who weren’t even at the protest.

Vainuku says, “He had even reportedly listed the names and addresses of specific police officers to be targeted.  This was a really significant threat.”

(Christian Hernandez. Salt Lake County Jail)

Police say Silva and Christian Hernandez, 27, started driving downtown to commit their attack when they were stopped by officers.  Vainuku says the pair had everything they needed to kill many people, and they believe the arrest saved lives.

“[He had] an AK-47, an Uzi and a bunch of ammunition in his car,” she says.  The Deseret News reports there were four firearms, total, along with marijuana.

Even if Silva had only intended to attack police officers, Vainuku believes others could have been seriously hurt or killed had Silva opened fire.

“There are going to be many people injured and that is likely going to include not only police officers but the innocent people who assembled downtown, as well,” Vainuku says.

Silva was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for making terroristic threats.  Hernandez was booked for possession of a firearm by a restricted person.

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Police say West Valley City man planned mass shooting during SLC protest