Facebook Twitter

BYSTANDER DIES AS GUN GOES OFF IN STRUGGLE

SHARE BYSTANDER DIES AS GUN GOES OFF IN STRUGGLE

Jorge Cabezas was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The 24-year-old Salt Lake man was watching two men wrestle over a gun early Sunday morning when a bullet fired from the pistol struck him in the head, killing him instantly.A few hours later an off-duty security guard turned himself in to police, saying the whole incident was a terrible accident. The man, 35, was not arrested, said Salt Lake police Lt. Norm Thompson.

"A county attorney will screen the case this week. It could be that it was accidental or that (the shooter) was justified," he said.

The man, who has a concealed-weapons permit, was using his truck to help another driver move his car off ice behind the Red Belle bar, 917 S. State, when the shooting occurred about 1:30 a.m.

Police say a drunken bar patron began pounding on the windows and doors of his truck and shouting obscenities. Apparently thinking his life was in danger, the man pulled a 9mm semi-automatic handgun from beneath his seat and stepped out of the truck.

The two began fighting over the gun while Cabezas stood nearby. It is not clear yet whether Cabezas was involved in the altercation, but police believe he was several feet away when shots rang out.

"In the middle of their struggle, the gun went off twice," Thompson said. "One shot hit (Cabezas) and he went down immediately."

The armed man then left the scene but later went to the home of a childhood friend, who is a Salt Lake police officer, to turn himself in.

Detectives met with the gunman and his attorney Tuesday. He was expected to give a full statement.

"Hopefully we'll have a more clear understanding of exactly what happened," Thompson said.