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Utah gang member charged with killing 2 shot up home of murder witness, charges say

A Utah gang member charged with murdering two people in Magna was charged Thursday with shooting at the house of a witness to a West Jordan homicide.

A Utah gang member charged with murdering two people in Magna was charged Thursday with shooting at the house of a witness to a West Jordan homicide. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

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SANDY — A man police say was the "shot caller" for his gang who is already charged with killing two people at a house party in Magna is now accused of firing multiple rounds into the home of a key witness in a West Jordan murder investigation.

Patrocinio Perez, 20, of Salt Lake City, was charged Thursday in 3rd District Court with obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony, and three counts of shooting in the direction of a building, a third-degree felony.

He is already charged with two counts of aggravated murder in the Aug. 15, 2021, shooting deaths of Juan Valentine Rodriguez, 19, and Ivan Valenzuela, 18. A 17-year-old girl was also injured in that house party shooting.

About two weeks after the double killing, on Aug. 26, 2021, Sandy police responded to a residence that had been struck by multiple gunshots.

Police say a male who lived in the house "is a key witness to a West Jordan homicide" and said he had already been pistol-whipped by Perez two to three weeks after being interviewed by detectives. Perez also "threatened to shoot" the victim if he ever saw him again, according to charging documents filed Thursday. The court documents do not say which homicide the victim witnessed.

But prosecutors say "other gang members had a 'green light' and had targeted (the victim) with violence because (he) observed a West Jordan homicide."

As police investigated the shooting in Sandy, they discovered a recorded conversation between Perez and an inmate at the Weber County Jail that happened on the same day. Perez told the inmate that he conducted "drills" in the area near the victim's residence, the charges state. "Drills" is slang for "shooting," according to police.

Investigators say Perez is a "shot caller" in his gang.

In September 2021, about a month after the double homicide occurred, he was arrested and charged with possession of a weapon by a restricted person and drug possession after being pulled over by police who reported finding guns and drugs in his possession.

Just four days later, he was arrested again and accused of firing at least one round into a group of people at Liberty Park. Perez was indicted in federal court in September for that incident and has remained in the Salt Lake County Jail since Sept. 12, 2021, according to jail records.

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


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