Police are looking at a familiar house and a familiar suspect in a Central City homicide Wednesday morning.
The suspected drug house, 640 E. 300 South, where a 47-year-old man was shot and killed Wednesday, is the same home where a man was killed last year.And police believe the 25-year-old suspect who fled the scene after Wednesday's 3:40 a.m. shooting is the same man who shot a man in the buttocks Sunday in front of the same home, said Salt Lake Police Lt. Phil Kirk.
That shooting involved a dispute over money.
The house has been the source of neighbors' complaints about loud music, fighting and traffic coming and going late into the night. Neighbors, who have reported hearing gunshots a few times during the last year, were awakened to gunshots again Wednesday.
About 3:45 a.m., a caller told police dispatchers that someone had been shot and then hung up. The dispatcher had to call back and try to get more information from the home's occupants, Salt Lake Police Lt. Phil Kirk said.
When officers arrived, they found the man dead in an upstairs bedroom. He had been shot multiple times. Police are looking for a suspect who fled the scene in a vehicle, Lt. Mark Zelig said.
The victim's name has not been released pending notification of next of kin.
One neighbor was awakened by what he thought were six gunshots and then heard one man say "you better get out of here" before a car sped off. Police arrived about 15 minutes later, the neighbor said.
No one had been arrested as of Wednesday morning.
While they look for suspects, police are also gathering their records to use as ammunition to try and force the home's occupants out.
Kirk said officers are compiling lists of all the complaints involving the house. They will then take that information to the city attorney and, if there is enough evidence, ask a judge to kick out the occupants under a state "nuisance" law. The law allows neighbors to track those breaking the law and use that information to shut down problem homes.
A number of search warrants have been executed on the house in the past year, along with at least one SWAT raid, said officer David Daniels.
In February, Samuel Durham, 35, was shot once in the chest outside the home. Witnesses reported he had intervened in a fight between a woman and another man. He died shortly after arriving at a hospital. Tracy Hester, 28, East Central City, turned himself in to police less than 24 hours later and was charged with Durham's murder. A jury later acquitted him. Defense attorneys argued that he acted in self-defense.
On Sunday, Clifton Ukerman was shot outside the home when he threw hot wax on another man. Police said the man fired several shots at Ukerman, one of which hit him in the buttock.
Kirk said it's unclear who owns the house though it appears a couple in their 70s live there with other renters.
One couple who lives close to the house, and who asked not to be identified because they fear retaliation, said they've called the police numerous times about the noise and traffic.
"Guaranteed, every night there is music at 2 in the morning pumping out of their cars," the man said. "It goes on every night. . . . There have been two murders in the last year. That doesn't make me feel very comfortable."
Lee Christensen has lived in the neighborhood for nine years. He has also seen the traffic coming to the house late at night, and he's heard gunshots. He said other than the problem house, most of the neighborhood is made up of "wonderful, professional people."
The Central City area just started a mobile watch group in August. The group's coordinator, Odette Dunn, said she's heard complaints about the house but hasn't patrolled there yet.
"We're struggling to get (mobile watch) really active. This is the last area in the city proper that doesn't have an active mobile watch," Dunn said, noting the group's 11 members are spread thin over the area. "We have a lot of (crime) problems."
Jean McCall said when she moved into the neighborhood 32 years ago it was full of families.
"Then it went hippie," she said, adding that families are returning to the neighborhood. McCall hasn't had any problems with the house at 640 East but knows some of the other neighbors do.
"I don't really see much, and I don't really care much as long as they stay over there," she said.