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'I'm gonna smash ur new man': Man charged with killing friend of his ex-girlfriend

Fatal shooting near 900 South and 500 West in Salt Lake City Monday, April 26, 2021.

(Derek Petersen, KSL-TV)

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Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — William Henry Clark sent several messages threatening to kill Ryan Prendergast before fatally shooting him outside a tent in downtown Salt Lake City, according to the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office.

On Friday, Clark, 33, of Salt Lake City, was charged with aggravated murder and aggravated kidnapping, both first-degree felonies; and possession of a firearm by a restricted person, a second-degree felony.

Clark is accused of killing Prendergast, 21, who was living in a tent near 900 South and 500 West on April 26. On that morning, Clark drove up to the tent where his ex-girlfriend was staying with Prendergast, according to charging documents.

He "began yelling for (the woman) to come out or he would start shooting people," the charges state. When the woman came out of the tent, Clark allegedly "put a gun to her cheek, said, 'I should shoot you right now,' and then told her to get in his car."

The woman refused to get in. At that point, Prendergast came out of the tent and was shot by Clark, who then drove off, according to the charges.

Prior to the shooting, police say Clark had left voicemails on the woman's phone stating that "he was going to hurt her and her friends."

"I'm gonna start shooting your (stuff) up," he said in one message. He also sent her a message on Facebook that stated, in part, "I'm gonna smash ur new man," the charges say.

Police tracked Clark to a home in Magna where he was taken into custody following a long 12-hour standoff with SWAT teams from both Salt Lake and Unified police.

Prosecutors believe the gun used in the killing was purchased by another one of Clark's ex-girlfriends. She bought the gun for Clark on Feb. 13 at a pawn shop because he was not able to buy one himself as a convicted felon, the charges state. The district attorney's office confirmed Friday that potential charges are being screened against the woman, but none had been filed as of Friday.

Clark was on felony probation for drugs and weapons charges at the time of the fatal confrontation with Prendergast, the charges state. He has a "significant criminal history in Utah," prosecutors noted while requesting that Clark be held without bail.


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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the team in 2021 after many years of reporting for the Deseret News


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