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SALT LAKE CITY — Two men with minor criminal histories have been arrested in connection with a fatal shooting in downtown Salt Lake City on Friday that apparently resulted from a drug deal gone bad.
Austin James Herring, 29, of Bluffdale, and Richard Michael Warner, 31, of West Valley, were arrested for investigation of homicide and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail.
On Dec. 19, a gold-colored 2014 Mazda driven by Herring pulled up to the sidewalk at 563 W. 200 South, and Warner, the passenger, got out to make a drug deal with a third man, according to Salt Lake City police.
Once the deal was agreed upon, Herring got back into the driver's seat. While the victim was talking to Herring through the passenger-side window, Warner pulled out a gun and shot the victim apparently without warning, according to a Salt Lake County Jail report.
Police had not released the name of the victim, a man in his 30s, as of Monday as they continued to verify his identity. Salt Lake police detective Cody Lougy said he didn't know how the alleged drug deal escalated into a shooting.
Shortly after the incident, police obtained surveillance footage of the alleged shooter and the getaway vehicle and released it to the media.
On Sunday, due to the high media attention, Herring called police from his home in Bluffdale and turned himself in, Lougy said. Investigators determined that Herring, who lives with his parents, used his parents' vehicle during the incident.
Lougy said Herring then gave detectives Warner's name and they arrested him at his house in West Valley City several hours later.
According to court records, neither man has ever been convicted of a felony in Utah. Warner pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drug possession in 2002, burglary-related crimes and interfering with an arrest in 2003 and marijuana possession in 2006.
Herring has a conviction for shoplifting in 2006, according to state court records. He also pleaded no contest on Dec. 10 to misdemeanor theft, and was charged recently in Sandy Justice Court with another shoplifting charge and possession of drug paraphernalia for an incident that allegedly happened Dec. 18, one day before the shooting.