PROVO — One of the two men police say pointed guns at a motorist during a protest in Provo last week has been charged with attempted murder for allegedly firing into the moving vehicle.
Jesse Keller Taggart, 33, of Salt Lake City, was charged Monday in 4th District Court with attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony; aggravated assault, and discharge of a firearm causing injuring, both second-degree felonies; and rioting, a third-degree felony.
The other man accused of brandishing a gun, Bradley Glenn Walters, 29, of Ogden, was charged with rioting and aggravated assault, both third-degree felonies.
On June 29, a 60-year-old Provo man driving an SUV was attempting to make a turn at the intersection of Center Street and University Avenue when his path was blocked by people protesting police in front of the Provo Police Department, according to officers. The victim later told police that he was attempting to turn to avoid the protesters, according to charging documents, but they “crowded” his vehicle.
“He attempted to pull forward slowly and move through the protesters when an individual approached his passenger-side front door, leveled a handgun and fired through the window. Victim then accelerated to get to safety and then drove himself to Utah Valley Hospital,” the charges state.
The man was admitted to the hospital to be treated for a gunshot wound to his right elbow, according to the charges,
Police went through the man's vehicle looking for evidence while it was parked at the hospital.
“Officers noticed that the passenger-side front window was shattered, and the passenger-side rear window was cracked and had a bullet hole in it. Officers located a bullet on the floor of the vehicle and another embedded in the steering column,” the charges state.
As police were gathering information about the possible shooter, they spotted Taggart, who matched the description given to detectives by witnesses.
“Officers decided not to detain him, but recorded the license plate of the vehicle that he was leaving in,” the charges state.
Police collected cellphone video from witnesses that showed Taggart “pull out a small handgun and fire a round through the passenger-front window of the victim’s vehicle. The footage also shows the same suspect chase after the vehicle a short distance and then fire a second round,” according to charging documents.
Taggart was also recorded going up to the driver’s side of a second vehicle and breaking the window, the charges state.
Other video recorded Walters pointing “a revolver-style handgun at the (the first) victim’s vehicle and chase it a short distance,” the charges state.
Investigators traced the license plate on the vehicle Taggart left in to Samantha Darling, 27, of Ogden.
“Officers also learned from another police agency that Samantha and Jesse were known associates and had been tied to protests in Salt Lake City. Officers learned that Jesse was living in a trailer attached to his truck in Salt Lake City,” according to charging documents.
As of Monday, no charges had been filed against Darling, who was originally arrested for investigation of obstruction of justice and rioting.