MT. PLEASANT, Sanpete County – An SUV riddled with bullet holes, smashed windows and broken lights tells a story of what Mt. Pleasant police called a carjacking at gunpoint — an incident reportedly involving several young adults.
“(They were) kidnapped at gunpoint and taken west of town, and then their car was taken from them at gunpoint as well,” said Chief Jim Wilberg, of the Mt. Pleasant Police Department.
The young adults called police after walking back to town to report the crime Monday afternoon, and later in the evening police found their SUV abandoned but severely vandalized.
“We (were) able to recover the vehicle east of town. The vehicle had been beat up with a sledge hammer, kinda destroyed, then (someone) shot some rounds into the vehicle,” Wilberg added.
Fast forward to Tuesday afternoon in Provo, where a SWAT team captured the suspected gunman, 18-year-old Alex Hernandez, after getting a tip he was hiding at an apartment complex.
"Detectives were working to try to find out the situation in the home, if there were children or whatnot. And at one point, we actually made contact, phone contact with him and he came out willingly,” said Sgt. Nisha King, with the Provo Police Department.
Investigators said in the carjacking case, everyone involved appeared to be acquainted.
“We believe it's not a random act. We believe this is some retaliation, or something going on ... just because of the damage done to the vehicle and other things that we know of that are involved that we're not really disclosing,” Wilberg said.
Police said Hernandez will likely face charges of aggravated burglary and kidnapping.
While folks in this small town have understandably been alarmed by this case, the police chief said with Hernandez now in custody, he believes they can rest easier.
“Mt. Pleasant is still a safe community, still a nice place to live, and we work hard to keep it that way," Wilberg said.