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Gunman shot shopper for looking at his girlfriend, charges state

Salt Lake County Jail

Gunman shot shopper for looking at his girlfriend, charges state

By Ben Lockhart | Posted - Oct. 23, 2015 at 9:25 p.m.


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WEST VALLEY CITY — A fight that led to a shooting in a West Valley City Wal-Mart parking lot started when the shooter confronted another man inside the store about looking at his girlfriend, according to charging documents.

Cole Ronald Shields, 31, was charged Thursday in 3rd District Court with two counts of illegal discharge of a firearm causing serious bodily injury, one a first-degree felony and the other a second-degree felony. He was also charged with obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony, and three counts of felony discharge of a firearm, a third-degree felony.

Shields, of Cottonwood Heights, allegedly confronted the man while leaving his checkout lane at the Wal-Mart, 3180 S. 5600 West, on Oct. 14 and asked him why the man was looking at his girlfriend.

"(The victim) told the defendant he wasn't, and began walking to his car. The defendant followed (him) and continued to verbally harass him," the charges state.

Shields then allegedly pulled out a gun and kicked the man in the leg. The man responded by punching Shields in the face and hitting him again after Shields fell to the ground, according to the charges. The man made his way toward his car again, this time walking backwards, when police say Shields opened fire, shooting at the man either five or six times and striking him once each in both feet.

"(The victim) required emergency medical treatment for his injuries and will be unable to walk for approximately six weeks," the charges state. "(He) will require a bone graft to repair the damage to one of his feet."

Shields admitted to opening fire in the parking lot, but claimed he did so in self-defense, according to the charging documents.

Utah court records show Shields entered a plea in abeyance to misdemeanor assault in June. He is currently in the Salt Lake County Jail and is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.

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Ben Lockhart

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