MIDVALE— A Midvale man accused of shooting a 13-year-old female acquaintance in February remains at large after being charged in 3rd District Court with tampering with evidence, a second degree felony and aggravated assault, a third degree felony.
Investigators have followed numerous leads that indicate the man may have fled to Mexico, but as recently as last week family members called police and asked what would happen if the suspect surrendered to authorities, West Jordan Police detective Kevin Nudd said.
"It would absolutely be in his best interest to turn himself in," Nudd said, noting that the man, who should be considered armed and dangerous, might still be holed up somewhere in Midvale or West Jordan.
The alleged shooting took place at 1:40 a.m. on Feb. 12 when the man, 19, took a handgun from a drawer and was showing it to the girl. One witness told investigators she saw the man take the gun from the drawer, pull the slide back, point the gun at the girl's stomach and pull the trigger, the charges state.
Another witness told detectives he was in another room when the gun went off. When the witness came into the room he observed the charged man standing over the girl. The suspect said he had just shot the girl and then fled his West Jordan home with the gun, court documents state.
The next day when investigators returned to the home all of the suspect's possessions and clothing were gone, Nudd said.
Meanwhile, the victim is still recovering from the nearly catastrophic injury. A doctor at Primary Children's Medical Center treated the girl and noted the bullet had traveled through her stomach and out her back, barley missing her spinal cord, court documents state.
"She was definitely very lucky," Nudd said.
While it missed her backbone, the bullet did cause some nerve damage that may prove permanent, Nudd said. Now she walks with the aid of crutches and a hard cast on one foot. When the hard cast is removed, the foot goes entirely limp.
West Jordan officers have issued a $100,000 arrest warrant for the suspect, who is described as 6 feet tall, 140 pounds, with brown eyes, a shaved head and a goatee. Anyone with information should contact the police at 265-4063.