Salt Lake County sheriff's detectives on Thursday planned to visit several schools in the area where a West Valley man was shot to death. (Please see obituary on this page.)
Investigators have few clues in Monday night's death of Russell Maggard and hope talking to students will help them identify at least five people who were seen in the area at the time of the shooting.Sheriff's officials so far can't understand why anyone would have killed Maggard, who was fishing near 14600 S. 1100 West.
"Because we haven't come up with any motives, we have to think that it's either an accidental shooting or a thrill kill," said sheriff's Capt. Bill Van Wagenen.
"We don't even like to think that (thrill kill) is possible, but we know it is and we have to look at every possibility," he said.
The captain believes that the most likely of the two scenarios, however, is that Maggard was accidentally shot by someone who may have been target shooting in the area.
Maggard, who had been married only 11/2 weeks, got off work about 5 p.m., went home, changed his clothes and wrote a note to his wife saying he was going fishing. He then drove to where he had gone fishing several times before. He parked his car and walked about a mile to the area.
He was shot once in the back of the head, but the bullet came from the left side toward the front of him. Detectives believe he may have turned his head just before he was hit. They believe the shooting occurred sometime between about 6:30 p.m. and dusk. His body was discovered Tuesday morning.
Two boys in their midteens were seen walking along the railroad tracks in the area Monday evening. The boys were reportedly carrying rifles and shooting toward the river.
"We'd be very interested in finding them and talking to them," Van Wagenen said.
A dark blue small Toyota or Saab was also seen in the area with two male occupants. One was described as heavyset and wearing a flowered hat. Another fisherman in a blue Ford pickup with a camper shell was believed to have been in the area at the time.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the sheriff's office, 535-5441.