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2 more arrested in killing at Taylorsville apartment complex

Two more people were arrested Monday in connection with the June 5 shooting death of a man at a Taylorsville apartment complex. Police now say the deadly confrontation may have stemmed from a fatal crash that happened one week earlier.

Two more people were arrested Monday in connection with the June 5 shooting death of a man at a Taylorsville apartment complex. Police now say the deadly confrontation may have stemmed from a fatal crash that happened one week earlier. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)



TAYLORSVILLE — Two more people were arrested Monday in connection with the shooting death of a man at a Taylorsville apartment complex earlier this month, including the suspected gunman.

And according to police, the deadly confrontation may have stemmed from a fatal crash that happened one week earlier.

Lehi Alexander Morantes, 26, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail Monday for investigation of murder, obstructing justice, possession of a weapon by a restricted person and five counts of discharge of a firearm.

Last week, Sofia Marie Penrod, 21, was charged in 3rd District Court with obstructing justice, a first-degree felony, for her alleged role in the death of 30-year-old Joey Michael Duran.

On June 5, Unified police were called to the Atherton Park apartments, 4545 S. Atherton Drive, on a report of two groups shooting at each other. Duran was found outside on the ground with a bullet wound to his chest. He was taken to a local hospital where he died a short time later.

Police observed bullet holes in the windows of apartments on the second and third floors as well as shell casings on the balcony of a second floor apartment, according to charging documents. Worried that someone might be injured, officers went to the second floor apartment and found Penrod in a back bedroom. Police say she told them that she had been hiding in a closet. She said she was in the apartment with her half-sister, Danielle Jordan Valdez, 23, and her sister's boyfriend, Morantes. The apartment is registered in Valdez's name.

But investigators noted that Penrod's statements "were inconsistent and contrary" to what other witnesses were saying, according to the charges.

A search warrant was obtained for Penrod's phone. On it, officers found messages in which Penrod acknowledged police were there and that there was at least one gun in the apartment, court documents state.

During a subsequent interview, Penrod told police that Duran had come to the apartment to confront her about the death of one of his friends that he believed she had a part in, according to a police affidavit. That friend, 34-year-old Miguel "Nolo" Marquez, was killed in a crash on May 27, allegedly while trying to avoid police. Salt Lake police were investigating a possible stolen SUV when the driver took off and rolled near the intersection of California Avenue and Redwood Road. The driver, Marquez, was ejected and killed.

A woman who was a passenger in the vehicle was also detained by police at the scene. Investigators have not released that woman's identity, but according to a police affidavit, Duran and others went to see Penrod right after Marquez's funeral believing she had something to do with the crash.

As Duran was standing outside the apartment to confront Penrod, Morantes went outside the second floor apartment to the walkway to tell the group to leave and then got into a argument with Duran, the affidavit states. A short time later, multiple shots were heard.

"Sofia said she knew Lehi always carried a handgun in his waistband," according to the affidavit.

After the shooting, Valdez went back into the apartment to get two small children, told Penrod that Morantes had shot Duran, and left, the affidavit says. Police say Morantes and Valdez then fled to California, but recently returned to Utah.

Valdez was also arrested on Monday for investigation of obstruction of justice.

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