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Woman killed in Sandy shooting

By Whitney Evans | Posted - Dec. 18, 2014 at 7:27 p.m.


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SANDY — A woman shot three times Thursday morning while trying to flee a house that had been investigated recently for drugs has died.

Candice Melo, who would have turned 27 on Friday, was pronounced dead about 4:30 p.m.

Larry Kent Graff, 52, of Sandy, was arrested prior to Melo's death for investigation of two counts of attempted homicide after police say he shot her just after 7 a.m. Police say Melo had only been living at the house for a week.

Multiple neighbors called police about 7:10 a.m. The first arriving officers initially thought Melo, who was found in the driveway at 343 E. Gary Ave. (9560 South), was dead.

"When they first arrived on scene and were assessing the injuries, with a gunshot wound to the head, they could not find any indication or signs that she was alive, initially believing she that was deceased," said Sandy Police Sgt. Dean Carriger.

A short time later, however, an officer noticed slight movement.

"Further assessment, they were able to find a faint pulse, at which time she was transported to the hospital," Carriger said.

She was shot three times — in the head, thigh and hip, Carriger said. Blood was found on the outside of the front door and the steps leading up to the door.

It was not immediately known whether any shots were fired inside the house or if Graff stood in the doorway and fired his gun outside. Sandy police were attempting Thursday afternoon to obtain a search warrant to go inside the residence.

Carriger said Melo and Graff were living in the house at the time of the shooting.

"There was an argument or dispute between victim and another occupant in the home prior to the shooting," he said.

Carriger did not know Thursday what started the fight.


Several different concerned citizens … reported suspicious activity has been occurring for the last several months. The concerned citizens stated they have started seeing a lot of come and go traffic from the residence, with different vehicles coming and going each time.

–Statement in the warrant


Another person, Michael Grimsley, told police that there was an argument inside the house and Graff chased both Melo and Grimsley outside, according to police. Graff allegedly shot at both of them as they fled from the house, Carriger said. Grimsley was not injured.

"Mr. Graff told detectives that he didn't feel threatened by (Melo and Grimsley) but just wanted them to leave the house," according to a Salt Lake County Jail report.

Graff said he "intentionally" fired his weapon at the couple, the report stated. Police are expected to screen the case with the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office for a possible murder charge.

Police had been at the house prior to Thursday's shooting. A Sandy police officer, who is a former member of the Metro Drug Enforcement Agency, recently served a search warrant on the residence. Graff was one of the targets of the investigation, according to the warrant.

"Several different concerned citizens … reported suspicious activity has been occurring for the last several months. The concerned citizens stated they have started seeing a lot of come and go traffic from the residence, with different vehicles coming and going each time," according to the warrant.

On Sept. 5, investigators went through the trash at the residence and found "numerous used syringes" and residue that tested positive for heroin, according to the warrant.

A similar search was conducted on Oct. 10. Investigators again found used syringes and residue that tested positive for methamphetamine, the warrant stated.

On Oct. 16, police returned with a search warrant for the house. A return to the search warrant showed that detectives seized drug paraphernalia, "counterfeiting items," syringes, heroin, meth, and multiple identification cards.

Carriger said Thursday there were still "ongoing" investigations into the house unrelated to the shooting.

Video Contributor: Nicole Vowell, Devon Dolan
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Whitney Evans

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