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Utahn charged with randomly shooting man inside St. George home

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Posted - Aug. 17, 2019 at 11:52 a.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — Formal charges were filed Friday against a St. George man accused of shooting and killing an unsuspecting man without provocation while the man was lying on a floor.

Nicanor Vasquez-Mendoza, 32, was charged in 5th District Court with murder, a first-degree felony; drug distribution and obstruction of justice, second-degree felonies; obstruction of justice, aggravated assault, five counts of witness tampering, discharge of a firearm, two counts of possession of a firearm by a restricted person, third-degree felonies; and carrying a weapon while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a class B misdemeanor.

On Wednesday, Skyler Armstrong, 18, was shot and killed while lying on the floor at 252 N. 2700 East, according to a police affidavit. There were many people in the house, which included a makeshift recording studio in the bedroom, according to investigators. Some told police they were there to record music.

Vasquez-Mendoza was in the bedroom with others smoking methamphetamine and “talking about guns,” police wrote in the affidavit.

According to a witness, Vasquez-Mendoza took a handgun out of his pocket, removed the bullets and then put one bullet back in. “Nicanor spun the cylinder to put the bullet in an unknown firing location and closed the cylinder. Nicanor pointed the gun at the ground and pressed the trigger,” the affidavit states.

The gun did not fire at that time.

He then pointed the gun at a juvenile, and then at Armstrong and pulled the trigger, according to police.

“The gun went off, shooting Skyler in the head,” the report says.

After, Vasquez-Mendoza told his girlfriend to tell everyone in the bedroom that if questioned by police, they needed to say that they didn’t see what happened because they were looking at their phones, and that they believed the gunshot wound was self-inflicted, according to the affidavit.

Silvia Gladiz Lopez, 26, of St. George, was charged Thursday in 5th District Court with obstructing justice, a second-degree felony, and five counts of witness tampering, a third-degree felony.

As police started going over the evidence, they realized the way Vasquez-Mendoza said the shooting happened didn’t add up. Some of the others who were in the room at the time of the shooting then started to tell police what they had actually witnessed, the report states.

Police searched Vasquez-Mendoza’s truck and reported finding methamphetamine and an AR-15 that had had its serial number removed.

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