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St. George man fired 12 shots into house, killing his landlord, police say

A St. George man was charged Thursday with murder after police say he fired about 12 rounds into the home of his landlord, killing the man.

A St. George man was charged Thursday with murder after police say he fired about 12 rounds into the home of his landlord, killing the man. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)


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ST. GEORGE — A man who witnesses say fired a dozen rounds from a rifle into a St. George house has been arrested and charged with killing the homeowner.

Joel Curtis Flores, 42, was arrested Wednesday and charged Thursday in 5th District Court with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony; possession of a weapon by a restricted person, aggravated assault and illegal discharge of a firearm, third-degree felonies; criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor; and intoxication, a class C misdemeanor.

Police say Flores shot and killed Richard Harper.

About 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, St. George police were called to a report of a family fight in the area of 740 North and 1100 East. Emergency dispatchers were told that "Joel had pointed a gun at a female and 'cocked it,'" according to a police booking affidavit.

Flores lives in a trailer on the property and Harper was his landlord, police said. A 57-year-old woman and Harper's 17-year-old daughter were also in the home at the time of the shooting.

The woman, who is Flores' friend, often visits him. On Wednesday, she arrived at the trailer and "described Joel to have a different behavior than normal and that he was intoxicated, but it is normal for him to be intoxicated," the affidavit states. The woman told Flores that she would no longer will be able to see him as often. Flores responded by grabbing a rifle, cocking it and pointing it at her chest, according to police.

"After Joel pointed the gun at her chest, (the woman) said she grabbed the barrel of the gun and pulled it to the side so it wasn't pointed at her," the affidavit states.

Harper heard the commotion and yelled at Flores to let the woman go. The woman was able to get away and went into Harper's home. The woman and Harper's daughter went to the back of the house where the woman called 911. While she was on the phone with emergency dispatchers, she "reported what she believed to be 12 gunshots from the outside of the home," according to the affidavit.

"Based on the information gathered it was determined that Joel approached the home of the deceased and fired rounds through the glass door," the arrest report alleges. "During this time Joel had what was believed to be a .22-caliber rifle and was using this to shoot through the door, which eventually struck Richard causing him to die."

Police say Flores also had three active warrants for his arrest at the time of the shooting for criminal mischief and driving on a suspended license.

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the KSL.com team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.

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