A man died at a Salt Lake hospital early today shortly after he was shot in the back by an assailant in a passing car.
Leonel F. Perales, 25, was in the back seat on the passenger side of a Honda Civic near 700 South and 700 East about 4:30 a.m. A gray or silver Chevy Celebrity drove by and several shots were fired from a handgun, Salt Lake City police said.
Perales' group had apparently been driving near 800 South and 400 East and passed a group of men who jumped in the Chevy Celebrity and followed them, Capt. Scott Atkinson said.
An unknown number of shots were fired from the Chevy Celebrity to Perales' car near 700 South and 700 East. Police found shattered glass and shell casings in the area, Atkinson said.
Police did not know how many times Perales was shot. He was one of three people in the car.
The driver of the Honda sped away south on 700 East until being pulled over by an officer at 700 E. Coatsville Ave. (1790 South).
The officer called for medical help, and Perales was transported to LDS Hospital, where he later died.
Police interviewed several witnesses this morning, but many of them refused to divulge details of the incident, Atkinson said.
"They want us to believe it's a random shooting, but we don't believe it is," Atkinson said.
It's still unclear if the shooting was gang- or drug-related or if Perales or anyone else in the two cars had gang ties, Atkinson said.
The Chevy Celebrity was last seen near 1300 South and 700 East.
Anyone with information on the murder should call Salt Lake police dispatch at 799-3000.