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South Salt Lake man killed in ambush shooting identified

(Derek Petersen/KSL)


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SOUTH SALT LAKE — Police were looking for several people and a motive following the shooting death of a man inside a car in what was described by police as an ambush-style assault.

Orlando J. Roybal, 32, of South Salt Lake, was gunned down early Thursday, just after midnight.

The incident happened near 600 East and Leland Avenue (3015 South). Roybal was a passenger in a vehicle driven by a woman, said South Salt Lake police detective Gary Keller. The two were reportedly going to that area to meet someone. It was unknown whether that meeting was supposed to take place in a house or on the street.

As the car was turning onto 600 East, an unknown number of people approached the vehicle, opened the driver's side door, reached around the driver and fired multiple shots at Roybal, Keller said.

Investigators do not believe the shooting was random, but they did not release a motive for the killing Thursday. Keller said he did not know whether gangs or drugs were involved. He also did not know if the woman recognized the shooter or if it was the same group they were planning to meet.

Police also didn't know whether one or multiple guns were used or whether the vehicle was moving or stopped when shots were fired.


He was transported by air to a trauma one center (hospital), where he died when they were applying lifesaving measures to him.

–Gary Keller, South Salt Lake police detective


Officers were originally called to the area of the shooting just after midnight, but arrived only to find a single shell casing, Keller said.

About 30 minutes later, detectives received a call from St Mark's Hospital telling them a man with a gunshot wound had been taken to that hospital.

"He was transported by air to a trauma one center (hospital), where he died when they were applying lifesaving measures to him," Keller said.

The relationship between the driver and the victim was not immediately known. The woman was being interviewed by police Thursday and was reportedly being "cooperative," Keller said. Investigators did not say whether she was being considered a suspect.

The car the two were driving was seized by police and detectives planned to search it for evidence.

Roybal had a lengthy criminal history, according to Utah state court records. He was charged in September with receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle, failing to stop at the command of an officer and two counts of felony theft. A warrant was issued for his arrest on Nov. 21 for failing to show up in court. Charges were filed in that case after Roybal allegedly led police on a high-speed chase in a rental car on Sept. 24. That chase started after Roybal used his vehicle to hit a police car.

In 2007, Roybal was sentenced to up to five years in prison for a conviction on a separate case of fleeing. That sentence ran concurrently with a conviction for attempted theft by receiving stolen property and failing to respond to the command of a police officer in one case and two counts of felony theft in a third case, according to court records.

In 2001, Roybal was sentenced to up to five years in prison for a conviction of attempted forcible sex abuse, according to court records.

Anyone who has information about the killing is asked to call South Salt Lake police at 801-840-4000. Calls are confidential and callers can remain anonymous.

Contributing: Brianna Bodily and Nicole Vowell

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