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Driver shot to death in Kearns

Authorities say a debt may have been the motive

The Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office is investigating whether a debt was the motive in a fatal shooting early Sunday.

Brauiio Cortez, 29, of Salt Lake County, was shot to death in a cul-de-sac in Kearns about 2:40 a.m., sheriff's spokeswoman Peggy Faulkner said.

On Saturday night, Cortez had a verbal confrontation with another man at the Mexican Civic Center in Salt Lake City.

"There's a history between the two of them, a disagreement over money," Faulkner said.

Cortez got into a vehicle and left the civic center. The other man got into a car, too.

It's unknown what transpired between the two men on the roadways after they left Salt Lake City. Both vehicles ended up in the cul-de-sac near 6100 South and 4200 West. Neither of the men live there, Faulkner said.

Multiple shots were fired, Faulkner said. Neighbors called the police.

Kent Leary and his wife were awakened by gunfire. Leary estimates four or five shots were fired about 30 feet from his house.

Then the vehicle driven by Cortez, who apparently lost control after he was shot through the windshield, rolled through Leary's fence. Cortez's brothers were passengers.

One of Cortez's brothers carried him to Leary's yard.

"I ran out. The driver's brother was yelling at him. (Cortez) was covered in blood already," Leary said.

Leary ran back into his house for towels. His wife called 911.

Cortez's other brother recorded the license plate number of the vehicle from which the shots were fired.

From the vehicle's license plate number, officers eventually tracked down a 27-year-old West Valley man, who was arrested and booked into Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of homicide and tampering with evidence, Faulkner said.

The fatal shooting is not considered gang-related, Faulkner said.

Neither Cortez nor the alleged shooter has a criminal history with the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, Faulkner said.


E-MAIL: lhancock@desnews.com