FERRON, Emery County — A fight taking place over Facebook and in text messages escalated into a shooting Thursday, investigators said.
An off-duty lieutenant for the Utah Highway Patrol heard the shots and yelling just before 7 p.m. as he was pulling into the driveway of his home in Ferron, according to the Emery County Sheriff’s Office. He reportedly called dispatch for backup while responding to a nearby apartment complex.
“As the off-duty UHP lieutenant pulled up to the apartments, he witnessed four subjects in an altercation,” a statement from the sheriff’s office reads. ”He drew his off-duty weapon and ordered all four subjects on the ground.”
Investigators said they learned the altercation began as an argument taking place over Facebook and through texts. After one person said he was going to the apartment complex with a friend, the person he was fighting with decided to wait in the parking lot with two other people for them to arrive, according to the Emery County Sheriff’s Office.
One of the men approached the first person’s vehicle as they arrived, according to investigators.
“At this time, the unarmed victim exited his vehicle and the alleged shooter started firing a small caliber handgun at close range,” the statement reads. “Three shots were fired, with one round hitting just above the door of the victim’s vehicle and one round hitting a house across the street. The third shot was fired underneath the vehicle as the victim was shielding himself on the other side of the vehicle.”
Officials said they believe Reyfus Graves, 36, was the shooter. He was arrested on suspicion of attempted homicide and reckless endangerment. Erick Stilson, the 37-year-old who allegedly owns the firearm, was arrested on suspicion of attempted homicide, possession of a firearm by a restricted person and reckless endangerment. Both men were booked into the Emery County Jail.