A weekend trip to San Diego proved fruitful for West Valley detectives when they provided information that helped nab a boy suspected in the July 31 drive-by murder of a West Valley man.
Sichan "Clay" Or, 19, died after he was shot several times in the upper body while standing in the parking lot of an apartment complex at 2531 S. Parkcrest Drive (1860 West).Witnesses told police that two men in a white Nissan pickup truck were responsible. The passenger, a 16-year-old boy who goes by the nickname "Mac," allegedly leaned out the window and shot at Or several times, according to police and a complaint filed against the driver in 3rd Circuit Court. Police later recovered the white truck on a West Valley street.
The driver, 22-year-old Anouphong "Nuk" Khamsiharath, was picked up in Las Vegas Aug. 2 and faces murder charges. He was later identified as the victim's brother-in-law. Khamsiharath's sister told investigators that her brother was angry at Or for treating her badly, the complaint states.
West Valley detectives Randy Lloyd and Kevin Nudd went to San Diego Friday to pick up a suspect in a stolen-vehicle case and, over the weekend, enlisted the help of the San Diego Police Department's gang unit in looking for the fugitive boy wanted in the July 31 murder.
"San Diego PD was so accommodating, I've never seen anything like it," Lloyd said. The detectives, together with two San Diego gang detectives, spent two days investigating leads as to the boy's location. After returning to West Valley City early Monday, Lloyd and Nudd received a call identifying his whereabouts and contacted the California gang detectives with the tip. The boy was taken into custody at a San Diego house where he was hiding.
Investigating Or's murder has proved difficult for police as they come up against cultural and language barriers both in West Valley City and California. Possible gang ties have made the investigation even more complicated.
"There's just so many players and nobody wants to talk to you - and they're so transient," Lloyd said. It's not unusual for the gang members to pick up and move to another state where they have friends, he said.
The West Valley apartment complex where Or was shot houses predominantly Asian residents and immigrants. As police investigated the crime scene, numerous children and adults wandered about the complex, yet witnesses were few. Many of the complications stem from the residents not trusting the police, West Valley police Sgt. Kelly Davis said.
"We're doing everything we can to let them know we're on their side," he said. "We're trying to establish a good communication with them."
The 16-year-old boy remained in California Wednesday pending juvenile court procedures to return him to Utah, Davis said.