CRIME

Police believe they’ve found murder weapon and pinpoint suspect in double homicide near Hunter High

Jan 14, 2022, 8:03 PM
(Loved ones of the two shooting victims paying their respects at a makeshift memorial.  Photo: Paul...
(Loved ones of the two shooting victims paying their respects at a makeshift memorial. Photo: Paul Nelson, January 14, 2022)
(Loved ones of the two shooting victims paying their respects at a makeshift memorial. Photo: Paul Nelson, January 14, 2022)

WEST VALLEY CITY — Investigators in West Valley are still trying to learn how a teenager was able to get the gun used to reportedly kill two boys near Hunter High School.  However, they say they’re getting a clear picture of who may have pulled the trigger. 

Several people stopped by the makeshift memorial for Paul Tahi and Tivani Lopati on 4100 South near Highland High School.  One of these visitors was Cameron Earl, who played with the victims on Hunter’s football team one year and briefly coached them the next.  He says Lopati was a “bright soul.”

Earl said, “He always had a joke.  He was always goofing around and he was just a joy to be around all the time.”

Earl said the same could be said for Tahi.  Plus, he has high praise for Ephraim Asiata, who was seriously injured in the shooting.  He says people in the community were already suffering after another teen was killed in a car crash in mid-2021.

“There are a lot of people in this community that have been very tight to all four of these boys.  The amount of heartache that so many people have gone through is really heartbreaking,” Earl said.

Police say four teens were arrested in connection with the shooting, and investigators noticed a pattern when they were interviewing them.

West Valley Police Spokesperson Roxeane Vainuku said, “There was one of them that stood out as being, potentially, the shooter.”

That suspect was booked into the juvenile facility, and Vainuku says the other three suspects were allowed to go home.  However, that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t face charges, later.  Plus, investigators believe they’ve found the murder weapon, although it has to be tested, then traced to see where the gun came from.

“This process does take time, but it’s worth it.  It’s worth our patience because this could actually end up showing us the path that led to this gun ending up in the hands of a 14-year-old,” Vainuku said.

Today’s Top Stories

Crime

A truck ran into a building causing a gas leak. Driver fled the scene....
Alejandro Lucero

Police looking for driver that caused hit and run, gas leak on Redwood Road

Police are looking for the driver in a hit and run this morning near 2050 South Redwood Road. Witnesses say the suspect fled on a bicycle.
1 day ago
The water level at Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US by volume, is at its lowest since it ...
Nouran Salahieh and Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN

More human remains discovered in Lake Mead’s receding waters

More human remains have been found in the receding waters of Lake Mead, authorities announced Saturday. This is the fourth time human remains have been found at Lake Mead National Recreation Area since May.
2 days ago
Image of the firearm used in the Swap meet shooting in WVC (Photo courtesy of Ben Braun)...
Chandler Holt

UPDATED: Shots fired at indoor swap meet in West Valley City

A shooting in West Valley City injured two and left two crime scenes. The incident took place at an indoor swap meet in the area of 1500 W 3500 S.
2 days ago
Image of the scene where a man stole an excavator and broke a water line (Photo courtesy of Ray Boo...
Chandler Holt

UPDATE: Man steals excavator and starts ripping up the ground, breaks water line

A water line broke by a Smith's parking lot earlier after a man stole an excavator and began ripping up the ground. 
3 days ago
Salt Lake shooting...
Devin Oldroyd

Salt Lake shooting suspect under arrest after shots fired at Gateway Inn

Salt Lake Police said a victim was found with a gunshot wound to the stomach. Not long afterward, they arrested the shooting suspect.
4 days ago
Kent Cody Barlow pleaded not guilty to three criminal charges Aug. 4....
Alejandro Lucero

Man accused of killing two kids in Eagle Mountain crash pleads not guilty

Kent Cody Barlow pleaded not guilty today to three criminal charges. The charges include manslaughter and drug possession.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Police believe they’ve found murder weapon and pinpoint suspect in double homicide near Hunter High