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SPRINGVILLE — A Springville woman has been arrested and accused of shooting and killing her elderly stepfather.
For the normally quiet community of Springville, the incident Wednesday marks the city's third homicide and fourth death in a week due to gun violence.
Krista Lynne Mortensen, 33, was booked into the Utah County Jail for investigation of murder, obstruction of justice and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person.
However, Springville police emphasized Thursday that the investigation is still ongoing.
Paramedics were called to a home at 471 N. 100 East just before 11 a.m. after Mortensen "ran to a neighboring residence and told a neighbor that she needed medical assistance for her elderly father. Mortensen stated she required assistance with her father's feeding tube," according to a police booking affidavit.
When emergency crews arrived, however, they immediately called for police after observing "a gunshot wound to the head and a gun" near the victim's feet, the affidavit states.
When officers attempted to question Mortensen, they learned that she had locked herself in an upstairs bedroom and "refused to come out or make any statements regarding the welfare of her father," according to the affidavit.
Once police found a key to the room and went inside, they reported finding Mortensen "lying in the fetal position on a bed and she had blood on her hands, arms and clothing."
Mortensen refused to answer questions from officers and asked for a lawyer. She was then moved to a couch where she "made multiple spontaneous statements about killing and shooting her father. The statements were made not in response to questions asked by any officers," the affidavit states.
Michael Huff, 75, was pronounced dead at the scene. Police confirmed that he was terminally ill, had been to the hospital recently, that he required a feeding tube, was unable to walk and had been struggling as of late and may have been frustrated by that. Detectives were looking deeper into that Thursday as part of their ongoing investigation.
Springville Mayor Matt Packard, who spoke to the media in a press conference Thursday afternoon, said he and Huff were longtime friends. He said Huff was a decorated military veteran and described him as a good, kind man.
The mayor also expressed sadness for all those taken unnecessarily by gun violence in Springville this past week and asked members of his city to watch out for each other.
"We ask our citizens to be aware of circumstances and people around them," Packard said. "We ask our citizens to do what they do best and extend a hand of friendship and fellowship to the people that are around them and lift them and help them."
Springville Police Chief Lance Haight also spoke at the press conference Thursday, expressing concern for the community at large as well as his 33-member police department as they process the week's tragic events.
"It's been a shock to our police department; it's also been a shock to our community," Haight said. "The general attitude 24 years ago was you just suck it up and push it down and keep working, but we know this is not the way to address things today. So, we're very proactive about the mental health of our officers. We make sure we check with each on a regular basis."
Huff's death is the latest in a recent series of violent episodes in Springville which, according to statistics, averages less than one homicide a year.
- On May 18, police say Masao Kaanga, 19, of Springville, shot his ex-girlfriend, Lily Conroy, 17, and then shot and killed himself in a car parked at Hobble Creek Park. Lily was being kept alive until a local organ donor recipient could be found. Police confirmed Thursday she has since passed away.
- On Saturday, Gregory Shaffer, 42, died after he was shot multiple times in his doorway. Hunter Ryan Lamoreaux, 25, was charged Wednesday with murder. Investigators say Lamoreaux is a former neighbor who claimed that Shaffer should not have custody of his children in his divorce settlement.
Correction: Hunter Ryan Lamoreaux is 25. An earlier version stated he was 35.
Contributing: Shara Park