WEST VALLEY CITY — A man who police originally thought had shot three people, including a baby, inside a Smith's grocery store, claims he was bumped by another shopper when his gun fired, according to charging documents.
Rufino Cervantez, 36, was charged Friday in 3rd District Court with theft by receiving stolen property, a second-degree felony; possession of a firearm by a restricted person, a second-degree felony; obstructing justice, a third-degree felony; illegal discharge of a firearm, a class B misdemeanor; and drug possession, a class B misdemeanor.
On April 11, Erika Padilla, her 3-year-old daughter, Esmeralda, and Mirelya Bajic were near the entrance of Smith's, 4065 S. Redwood, when they were injured. While it was originally believed that all three were shot, investigators later determined they were hit by bullet fragments. They were all treated and released from local hospitals.
Cervantez, who had smoked meth earlier that day, said "he had a gun in his waistband and got bumped by a gentleman at the store. Cervantez stated he began to fall and when he tried to catch it, the gun went off, striking him in the right thigh," according to charging documents. Fragments from the shot that fired sprayed into the store and hit the three others.
The gun was determined to be stolen out of a vehicle parked at the Quality Inn, 440 W. 5300 South, the charges state.
After injuring himself, Cervantez ran off. He dropped his cellphone at the scene, which police found and used to identify the gunman, court records state. A gun was found under a fence at 3950 S. Redwood Road, and a backpack with drugs, ammunition and a booking sheet for Cervantez from a prior arrest was found behind storage sheds at the Redwood Apartments, the charges state.
Cervantez has an "extensive" criminal history in California including several weapons-related convictions, according to court documents.