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Paintball prank leads to chase and gunfire in Murray and South Salt Lake

The silver pickup, the victim vehicle, after crashing with the suspects on 2700 South in So. Salt Lake. Photo credit: Paul Nelson.

MURRAY, Utah — It may have started as a prank with a paintball gun, but, police say it turned into a very dangerous situation with very real gunfire.  Investigators say no one was hurt, but it’s a good example of why civilians shouldn’t chase each other.

Just after noon on Tuesday, representatives of Murray police said two people in a silver BMW started firing paintballs at random people in Murray. Officer Taylor Blauer says it started near 100 West Fireclay Avenue, but the suspects then went to another location to fire the paintball gun. 

Paintball prank sours

Then, shortly after, two victims from two different paintball incidents reportedly got into the same pick-up and followed the paintball suspects.

“They reported that along the way the suspect vehicle did fire shots at the victim’s vehicle, this time with a real gun,” Blauer said.

Investigators received multiple reports of shots fired during the chase and found bullet casings near 3100 South.  The victims reportedly followed the suspects into South Salt Lake.

“The [suspect] vehicle then proceeded toward 2700 South.  While on this road, the two vehicles got into an accident and the suspect vehicle was disabled,” Blauer said.

Officers took one of the suspects into custody, but the passenger reportedly ran away.  Investigators are still trying to find anyone whose property was damaged because of the gunfire.

Moral of the story: civilians shouldn’t chase suspects

Blauer says that this exchange shows why it’s never a good idea for a civilian to chase a suspect.

Any time something like that happens, we recommend you give us a call and let us take care of the issue,” Blauer said. 

“If you’re following somebody and they begin driving aggressively, that can put you in danger but also everyone else that’s on the road, anywhere nearby.  We’re concerned for their safety as well.”

Nearby Granite Park Junior High was on a “shelter in place” order for 45 minutes while police investigated the crash scene.  Two other schools in Magna were also placed under a similar order at the same time, but Granite School District officials say that was due to a search warrant being executed on a nearby home.

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