Salt Lake City investigators believe the man responsible for a triple homicide has left the country.

Luis Alberto Salinas, 22, was charged Wednesday in 3rd District Court with three counts of capital homicide and two counts of aggravated kidnapping, both first-degree felonies. A charge of capital homicide leaves open the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.

Salinas is accused of shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend, Lori Gurule, as well as Aristeo Torres and Juan Alberto Ruiz early Saturday morning in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven, 960 N. West Temple.

Two witnesses drove Salinas to the 7-Eleven prior to the shootings where they planned to meet Gurule, according to court documents.

Gurule and the other men had left a party 30 minutes prior to arriving at the convenience store about 3 a.m.

When Salinas arrived at the 7-Eleven, one witness climbed into the back seat of a Suburban where Gurule was sitting. Moments later, Salinas pulled the witness out of the back and sat next to Gurule himself, court documents state.

He then shot Gurule twice in the upper torso and then shot the driver, Torres, in the upper torso and head, according to court documents. Salinas got out of the Suburban and walked around to the passenger seat where he shot Ruiz once in the upper torso, court documents state.

After the shootings, Salinas ordered the two witnesses at gunpoint to drive him back to his car or he would "shoot and kill them," according to court documents. The witnesses said Salinas pointed a gun at their heads during the entire ride back to his car.

Salt Lake City police believe a few hours later, Salinas bought a plane ticket for a flight bound for Mexico City.

On Wednesday, police announced they had contacted a Delta airlines clerk who positively identified Salinas as the person who purchased a ticket for a flight bound for Mexico at 11:40 a.m. Saturday.

Salt Lake City police Capt. Mark Peck said his office will now determine the best method to coordinate a search with Mexican authorities for the capture and return of Salinas.

Salinas' car was found Tuesday in Midvale.


E-mail: preavy@desnews.com