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Man strangles girlfriend in cemetery; stabs 2 at party

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TOOELE — A man who police say strangled his girlfriend in a cemetery and then went to a Halloween party where he stabbed two people remained on the run Thursday.

Tooele police were looking for Gabriel Mascarenas, 19. Investigators believe his path of violence started about 9 p.m. Halloween night in the Tooele City Cemetery where he and his 17-year-old girlfriend were out walking for fun, said Tooele Police Lt. Paul Wimmer.

At some point, the two got into an argument that became heated. It ended when Mascarenas put his hands around his girlfriend's neck and strangled her until she passed out, Wimmer said. When the girl came to, Mascarenas was gone.

The teen passed out anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, the lieutenant said. The girl then called her mother who picked her up. Later, however, she was taken to a local hospital to be treated for injuries.

Suspect description

  • Gabriel Mascarenas, 19
  • 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighs 150 pounds
  • Last seen wearing a red shirt and blue jeans<
  • Has a shaved head and hazel eyes
  • He is believed to be in hiding in Tooele

Anyone with information is asked to call Tooele police at 435-882-8900.

About 2 a.m., Mascarenas showed up at a party at 379 N. 100 West. The homeowner had heard about the strangulation incident by that time and knew that police were looking for him. He told Mascarenas that he was not welcome at the house.

That angered Mascarenas, who pulled out a pair of box cutters and stabbed the homeowner, according to Wimmer. He also allegedly stabbed another partygoer who tried to intervene.

The homeowner, 36, was flown to a Salt Lake hospital with puncture and slash wounds to his chest. He was listed in serious but stable condition on Thursday, Wimmer said. The other man at the party was treated at a Tooele hospital for stab wounds to his back and was later released.

Detectives weren't sure Thursday if Mascarenas had fled the Tooele area or not, noting that he had a lot of friends and family in the area. Investigators, however, believe he is in hiding, Wimmer said.

Mascarenas was last seen wearing a red shirt and blue jeans. He is about 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighs 150 pounds, and has a shaved head and hazel eyes.

In 2011, Mascarenas was found guilty of assault resulting in substantial injury. Mascarenas choked his young brother who had confronted him about taking a pair of his shoes, according to Utah court records. When confronted by his father, Mascarenas took a metal bar and hit him in the face and arms.

As part of a plea deal, his charge was reduced from a third-degree felony to a class A misdemeanor and he was given two years of probation. An arrest warrant was issued on June 15 because of failure to comply with that probation, according to court records. He was re-arrested and released again on June 26.

Anyone with information on Mascarenas' whereabouts is asked to call Tooele police at 435-882-8900.


Pat Reavy


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