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Police: 2 gang members arrested in connection with Fashion Place mall shooting

By Jacob Klopfenstein, KSL.com | Updated - Jan 14th, 2019 @ 3:43pm | Posted - Jan 14th, 2019 @ 9:59am


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MURRAY — Two people have been arrested in connection with Sunday's shooting at Fashion Place mall which involved two gangs, police said.

Jesus J. Payan-Mendoza and Jorge Luis Crecencio-Gonzalez, both 19, have been arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail, Murray police officer Kenny Bass said in a Monday news conference.

They were both booked for investigation of attempted aggravated murder and felony discharge of a firearm, Bass said. They are also both members of the "Florencia 13" gang, jail reports said. Both men are from the Summit or Wasatch county areas, Bass said.

The shooting took place about 1:30 p.m. Sunday between two separate gangs, Bass said. The two groups happened upon one another at the mall in what appeared to be a chance meeting, he added.

There was a verbal altercation between the two gangs, and when one of the gangs started to leave the mall, the other gang followed, Bass said.

At some point after the two groups got outside, someone from one of the gangs turned and fired at the other gang, injuring a man and a woman who were both members of the opposite gang, Bass said.

Someone from the second group then returned fire, Bass added. Detectives are still trying to determine who fired shots from both groups.

Police investigate a shooting at Fashion Place in Murray on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. (Photo: Silas Walker, KSL)

Everyone involved in the shooting then immediately fled the scene, Bass said. No bystanders were injured, but a car in the mall parking lot had damage from the gunshots, he said.

The man who was injured in the shooting was still in critical condition as of Monday morning, Bass said. The woman was taken to a hospital and later released Sunday afternoon. They were not identified Monday.

Bass said the altercation was not a territory battle between the two gangs, and there has not been an increase in gang activity in Murray.

There were five people in the gang that included the victims, and five to seven people in the other gang, "Florencia 13," according to Bass.

Payan-Mendoza and Crecencio-Gonzalez are both from the same gang, and in the opposite gang of the victims, Bass said. It was not clear Monday if the two instigated the shooting or if either one of them fired shots, he added.

Police previously announced Sunday they were looking for three suspects involved in the shooting. On Monday, Bass said he was not sure how many suspects police were still searching for, but they were looking for everyone who was involved from both gangs.

"Everybody that was remotely involved, our detectives want to talk with," he said.

It is not clear if Payan-Mendoza and Crecencio-Gonzalez were two of the three people police were initially searching for.

Crecencio-Gonzalez later admitted to police that he was at the mall at the time of the shooting and was "directly involved with this attempted homicide," according to a jail report. He also drove the vehicle to flee the scene of the shooting, according to the report.

Payan-Mendoza, whose nickname is "Psycho," also later admitted to police that he was affiliated with the gang and the shooting, according to a jail report.

Murray police officer Kenny Bass talks with the media about information regarding the gang related shooting at Fashion Place Mall, on Jan. 13, 2019, during a press conference at the Murray City Hall on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (Photo: Steve Griffin, KSL)

Emergency officials initially heard a report of a shooting at the mall, and "at some point it was believed or mentioned that it possibly was an active shooter situation," Bass said.

That information prompted a huge response from all law enforcement agencies in the Salt Lake Valley, according to Bass. He did not say where the information about the possible active shooter situation originated.

An alarm went off in the mall before the verbal altercation between the two groups, Bass said. The mall had been having problems with the alarm, and it happened to go off at the time of the shooting but was completely unrelated to the shooting, he said.

The mall was open Monday for normal business hours, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., according to mall officials.

Many details about the shooting are yet to be determined, as it is still under investigation, Bass said. Police are asking anyone who has video footage of the shooting to contact them at 801-840-4000.

Bass commended the response time from law enforcement Sunday, which included officers from all local, state and federal agencies available in the Salt Lake Valley at the time.

"I think they handled it extremely well," he said. "It was extremely fast at the response and how quick they jumped in. ... For a horrible thing, it ended better than, you know, it certainly could have."

Watch Monday's full news conference below:

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