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MILLCREEK — Two women remained hospitalized Sunday — one in extremely critical condition and another in serious condition — after police say the husband of one of the victims shot them during an apparent hostage situation.
The two women were shot at 3313 S. Scott Court Saturday. The more seriously injured woman was not related to the couple who lived at the home but had arrived to try to help and then became a victim, according to police.
Unified police arrived to find that woman, 42, laying in the street with multiple gunshot wounds, including one to her head and one through both lungs that severed her spine, according to Unified Police Lt. Lex Bell.
After allegedly shooting the first woman, Valentin Dulla Santarromana, 37, then pulled his wife into the house and threatened to shoot a witness if he didn't leave, according to police. No children were in the home at the time of the shooting.
Officers surrounded the home and tried negotiating with Santarromana through the three-hour standoff, communicating with him through a lower-level window, police reports indicate. Officers watched as he took cover and they heard shots fired.
Santarromana's wife, 42, was shot four times: once in the arm, once in each leg, and once in the back of head, according to Bell. The gunshot to the woman's head exited through her eye socket, he said, causing a permanent loss of the woman's eye.
The two women's names were not released.
"This is a tragic event and our deepest sympathies go out to these two women and their families," Bell said Sunday.
Officers ultimately found Santarromana in the basement of the home Saturday and arrested him for investigation of multiple counts of attempted murder, said Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder.
"While they were detaining him, he told one of the officers that 'I'm going to take that gun out of your holster and make you kill me,' and also repeatedly told them, 'I want to die,'" Bell said.
Police had been called to the home multiple times prior to Saturday's incident as part of an ongoing domestic situation, he said.
I think this demonstrates the volatility that can occur with domestic situations. What we do know is this couple was involved in a very difficult domestic situation over the course of the last weeks and culminated in today's events. What the specific triggers were will be determined.
–Jim Winder, Salt Lake County Sheriff
"I think this demonstrates the volatility that can occur with domestic situations," Winder said. "What we do know is this couple was involved in a very difficult domestic situation over the course of the last weeks and culminated in today's events. What the specific triggers were will be determined."
Bell also emphasized the complexity of the situation.
"It's impossible to predict human behavior, and somebody that threatens to hurt themselves is a lot different than someone who threatens to hurt somebody else," he said. "He had made threats to his daughter via phone conversations or via text that he was going to kill himself."
A temporary protective order was requested against Santarromana by his estranged wife but it had yet to be served, according to state court records. A hearing regarding the order was scheduled for Aug. 31.
Santarromana has no significant criminal history in Utah.
Katrina Cabezas, a neighbor, said she was sad to hear about what happened.
"To me, Val is a good person," Cabezas said. "What he did is scary and saddening and was a wrong choice."
Winder urged those who may be involved in domestic strife to seek help.
"This, I think, is a lesson to folks when they get into these very difficult situations, one needs to extricate themselves from it," the sheriff said. "You need to get out of a situation if you feel it getting this volatile. People think they can contain it, and you really can't."
Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting the YWCA, Women in Jeopardy, 801-537-8600, or the Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-897-LINK (5465).
- The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition has a statewide, 24-hour hotline for victims of domestic violence at 1-800-897-LINK (5465).
- The Division of Child and Family Services offers counseling, teaches parenting skills and conflict resolution and can connect the family with community resources. Their goal is to keep children with their family when it is "possible and safe," according to their website. Visitdcfs.utah.gov/questions/or call 1-800-323-DCFS (3237) for resources or to report child abuse or neglect.
- The Christmas Box House acts as a temporary shelter for children and can provide them with new clothing and shoes, among other services. Call the Salt Lake office at 801-747-2201 or the Ogden office at 801-866-0350.
Contributing: Sandra Yi