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SOUTH SALT LAKE — One man was killed and six others hospitalized, at least in very critical condition, following a gang-related melee late Saturday at a reception center.
"It was quite a chaotic situation," said South Salt Lake police detective Gary Keller. "People were running everywhere. We had wounded people on the ground. It was quite a crime scene."
The crime scene stretched over three blocks.
The incident began inside a reception center where there was reportedly a birthday party being held and a rap group was performing.
Multiple police agencies responded at 11:21 p.m. to a report of shots fired at the Arbat Reception Hall, 375 East 3300 South. A fight broke out inside the building and shots were fired before the brawl moved outside onto 400 East, Keller said.
Corey Tidwell, who has lived near the reception center for seven months, said he was watching TV Saturday night when he heard "some really loud banging. It sounded kind of like fireworks."
Then he heard a woman screaming "like really loud and all of sudden glass started breaking....It actually scared me a lot."
Another neighbor, Mark Dean, said he went outside after hearing shots.
"Right out the front gate going out my yard, there was a guy hiding," the 25-year resident of the area said. He spotted two others, one about 10 feet away and another by his carport.
"I say, 'Hey, what are you guys doing here? You can't be here' and they took off running."
Four of the victims taken to the hospital were shot and one was stabbed multiple times, Keller said. At least one of the gunshot victims, in addition to the one that died, was taken by medical helicopter to a local hospital.
Also taken to area hospitals were a woman who went into labor and another person who was injured while trying to drive away, he said.
One of the shooting victims a 19-year-old man shot in the chest, died Sunday about 10 a.m., Keller said. His name was not immediately released.
The stabbing victim was last listed Sunday morning in "very critical" condition at a local hospital, he said.
The woman who was injured while trying to drive away reportedly was in a car full of females when she drove through a fence and into a canal, Keller said.
About a dozen people were rounded up by police for questioning, but investigators were receiving very little cooperation, Keller said. He said the incident was "definitely gang related. A lot of the people we've been talking to, they all share different gang affiliations."
It was unknown, however, whether the fight was between rival gangs or members of the same gang. Shell casings and live ammunition were recovered by investigators but no weapons had been seized as of Sunday afternoon.
An off-duty police officer who lives nearby ran to the area after hearing the commotion. Keller said the officer was not a South Salt Lake police officer but declined Sunday to say where he worked. It was unknown Sunday what interaction the officer had with the people who were fighting or if he was armed.
A man who answered the phone at the reception center and identified himself as the owner but refused to give his full name said the event was a birthday party for about 120 people. He said many party-goers had already left when the trouble started.
Written by Lisa Riley Roche and Pat Reavy with contributions from Sandra Yi.