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Provo man accused of shooting at driver and child, then at police after fleeing car crash

Police on Tuesday arrested a man accused of shooting at a driver and child, and then getting into a shoutout with police, all after allegedly leaving the scene of a car crash.

Police on Tuesday arrested a man accused of shooting at a driver and child, and then getting into a shoutout with police, all after allegedly leaving the scene of a car crash. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

OREM — Police on Tuesday arrested a man accused of shooting at a driver and child, and then getting into a shootout with police, all after allegedly leaving the scene of a car crash Saturday.

Gene Patrick Contreras, 35, of Provo, was arrested for investigation of five counts of discharge of a firearm in the direction of a person, five counts of attempted murder, possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, an accident involving property damage, aggravated assault, aggravated burglary, failure to yield the right of way on a red light, and theft of a firearm or operable vehicle.

According to a police affidavit, the series of events began last Saturday after Contreras "failed to stop at a red light and crashed into another vehicle" at the intersection of 800 S. Orem Blvd.

"Contreras immediately after the crash gathered items from the vehicle and began walking away," police wrote.

A witness with a child then began following Contreras in a car and confronted him, when Contreras "displayed a handgun and fired three rounds at the witness and the front passenger, striking the car where a special needs child was seated positioned in between the witness and Contreras," the affidavit states.

An Orem officer arrived on scene and found Contreras and then "there was an exchange of gunfire," police said. Contreras then ran to a nearby home and shot the doorknob to disable the lock and went inside the home, according to the affidavit.

Police say Contreras was "heard firing at least four times while in this home."

"It was found that Contreras had encountered the residents of this home, asked where car keys and a phone were, then ordered them to go to the basement while waving the gun around to direct the residents downstairs," investigators said.

Contreras then left the house and fired at three officers, the affidavit states. Officers fired back, striking him, according to investigators. No officers were injured.

"Contreras then made contact with officers by phone to notify them of his injuries," police said. He then allegedly threw two handguns out of the window of the home.

He was then taken into custody "at which time he asked if he had killed anyone," the affidavit states. Contreras was taken by ambulance to Utah Valley Hospital. Details about his injuries have not been released. He was released from the hospital later Tuesday and booked into Utah County Jail.

Police noted in the affidavit he is a "known member of a Crip gang" out of Arizona and asked that he be held without bail.

Investigators said the car Contreras was driving was listed as stolen in the National Crime Information Center database.

Orem police announced Tuesday evening they are searching for a female in a pink dress who walked away from the crash scene, as well as any other witnesses to the crash or shooting who have not yet spoken to police.

Those with information are asked to call police at 801-229-7070.

"We again would like to thank all of the agencies that have assisted and are continuing to investigate this case. We are grateful all of the officers involved were uninjured," police said.

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Ashley Imlay covers state politics and breaking news for KSL.com. A lifelong Utahn, Ashley has also worked as a reporter for the Deseret News and is a graduate of Dixie State University.

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