Police thought they had one of the teenagers who started a bloody gang feud last week at a family get-together.
But they were forced to free the 17-year-old boy Thursday afternoon because of reluctant witnesses.Detectives arrested Davey Joe Williams on Tuesday and booked him into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of attempted murder. Their case looked promising, until some people who witnessed the shooting waffled.
"We know he was there . . . we're just dealing with a lot of juvenile gang members here. That makes it tough," said Salt Lake Police detective David Timmerman.
No charges have been filed against him.
The melee began about 11:30 p.m. July 28 as Michelle O'Neill and her family gathered at their home on the 100 East block of Harvard Avenue. (1110 South). O'Neill and her brothers and sisters were wrapping up the gathering when a carload of youths pulled to their curb.
"The people inside the car climbed out and just started talking to us. I was kind of nervous at first because we had babies with us, but the people all seemed pretty nice," O'Neill said after the fight.
As the two groups talked, a car filled with other juveniles passed and stared menacingly at the gathering before turning onto State Street. Moments later, several teens emerged from the shadows, armed with guns and knifes.
As people scattered, O'Niell dashed into her home and then witnessed what she said was "a horrible scene."
She said she saw one teen stabbing another over and over again. Meanwhile, her brother, Ed, witnessed a different pair of youths, one with a handgun.
"(The gunman) shot the boy twice in the back. Then everyone ran away," said Ed. Neither of the O'Niells could positively identify the perpertrators because of darkness.
Both teens who were injured during the ambush were taken to LDS Hospital and have since recovered from their wounds.
Now, detectives are hoping for more breaks in the case, which they note is yet another example of the city's ongoing storm of gang-related violence.
So far this year, 18 homicides have occurred within city limits; at least four of the victims are believed to have been involved in some sort of gang dispute. Another seven people have been injured in gang-related shootings.