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Police warn of dangerous person of interest in gang-related shooting

By Andrew Wittenberg | Posted - Mar. 26, 2012 at 10:41 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Police and the FBI have new clues into a gang-related shooting that shook a Salt Lake City neighborhood over the weekend.

Police say it was surprising that no one was injured, but the actions taken were "egregious, reckless and put a lot of people at harm," said Det. Mike Hamideh with the Salt Lake Police Department.

In tracking cases like this, which involve gang-related shootings, it can be tough to pin down suspects. So many involved live by the code of the street -- refusing to cooperate with authorities because of violent backlash.

But Salt Lake Police have identified a person of interest in that drive-by shooting and say he is extremely dangerous.

Joseph Medina is described as a Hispanic male, 5'9", 195 pounds, 25 years old, with tattoos on his face, neck, chest and arms. Anyone with information on Medina's whereabouts is asked to contact:
  • FBI Salt Lake City Division by phone at 801-579-1400
  • SLCPD by phone at 801-799-3000
  • SLCPD by text at CRIMES (274637). Start the text with the keyword "TIPSLCPD."
Tips can remain anonymous. The public is reminded not to approach Medina, and instead contact law enforcement.

Police say a maroon and white Cadillac stopped at the intersection of 1300 W and Ouray Avenue Friday night.

Neighbors were sitting on their porches that night when the car pulled up. Ma'ata Santini saw it all happen.

"I just sit quiet," he told KSL. "I didn't say nothing to any of them."

Three men got out and starting firing down the street. Bullets pierced two houses and one car.

"Their actions were reckless without any regard for the citizens who were in that area," Hamideh said. "No one was injured, but that was only by luck."

Monday afternoon, after working leads on the case all weekend, the FBI and Salt Lake Police have named Joseph Medina as a person of interest in the drive-by shooting. They believe he knows what happened Friday night and what led to the gunfight.

Police say Medina has a lengthy criminal history. He's a well-known member of the Nortenos gang in Salt Lake City.

The Nortenos are a group of Mexican-American prison gangs which originated from Northern California. The Nortenos use the United Farm Workers logo as an emblem. Tattoos on Medina's forehead indicate his allegiance.

"A lot of the tattoos you see on (Medina's) face are gang-related," Hamideh said.

Police are cautioning the public that Medina is extremely dangerous and not to approach him.

"If you see Joseph Medina we ask that you call police, you call 911," Hamideh said, "but do not approach him."

Andrew Wittenberg

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