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Is Utah one of the worst states to go for gang shootings?

Keaton Yano

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Utah, a very recognizable state with many landmarks, and very kind people. Or is it?

As of writing this article, more than 12,000 people in Utah, have died than in most other states. Other states like Washington, Texas, and Florida, these states that all have higher populations than Utah, yet they all are in the same death range as Utah. The city, South Salt Lake has been rated “Number one most dangerous part of the state.”

This doesn’t make much sense? Why is that? Well, that doesn’t mean we are not a safe state, in fact the FBI has stated that Utah is one of the safest states, it’s just that Utah is now starting to have a problem when it comes to gangs and gun violence. Even now, there have been over twenty-plus reported shootings within Utah county alone and even within the last week.

On January 22, 2017, a teen girl was found in the parking lot of Valley Fair Mall. She was supposedly shot in crossfire between multiple groups of gangs. She was later found and sent to the hospital in critical condition. At the hospital, her mother was told that her daughter would have to stay in the hospital for over a week. Currently, she has been up and walking around the hospital, and is on her way to a quick recovery.

A similar story took place on January 26, 2017. A young, teenage boy was found shot in the middle of the street and found in serious condition. A situation took place that led to the shooting. Officers first had reports at around 3:30 p.m. that day. It was not discovered on how many people have taken part in this crime. A witness named Christiansen stated, “We know there was multiple people, it looked like there was some altercation before the shots were fired.”

The next day they found out the boy that was shot had been paralyzed from the waist down.  There were at least two suspects who are thought to be the perpetrators who shot the kid, while the other two were part the argument. The suspects were apprehended and taken into custody, two juveniles and two adults. The kids were fifteen and sixteen, and their names are not to be given. The four adults, were 18-year-old Gerson Mursia-Morales, 18-year-old Valentin Alarcon, 19-year-old Kevin Henriquez, and 19-year-old Juan Jose Espina. What went down with these adults were as follows. Juan Jose Espina had stopped a car near three pedestrians. He then proceeded to give one of them a firearm. Others were in Espina’s car, firing upon the pedestrians. A bullet managed to hit the victim in his back. Henriquez-Chavarria was sitting in Espina’s car, he was supposedly one of the shooters, same thing along with Valentin, while Mursia was in a car behind the shooting vehicle. This whole fiasco was due to multiple gangs doing criminal acts because of “an arranged mutual fight.”

These two stories are told to show how the Utah is not as thought to be nice a state. Gang violence in most prevalent within the eastern part of the United States of America. That doesn’t mean gangs can’t creep their way to infest other states with terror,  remember, we are still a safe state. Just also remember to stay safe and out of trouble.


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MHS Student News
Is Utah one of the worst states to go for gang shootings?