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Shootout awakens West Valley residents

WEST VALLEY CITY — A normally quiet neighborhood was awakened by a shootout early Thursday.

Just after 2 a.m. gunfire was exchanged between people in two vehicles near 4500 South and 4100 West. Police believe a total of nine to 13 rounds were fired. No one was injured.

The incident began around midnight when a man's car was burglarized. Two of the man's friends decided they were going to find the alleged burglar themselves, so they grabbed a shotgun and started driving around, West Valley Police Capt. Craig Black said.

While driving near 4400 West and 4100 South, the men pulled up next to a white car, Black said. The two men apparently thought the car looked suspicious, although there was no evidence it was involved with the burglary, Black said.

Investigators were still trying to determine Thursday afternoon what words or signals, if any, were exchanged between the occupants of the two vehicles. Shortly after the men's vehicle drove next to the car, one passenger in the white car pulled out a 9mm handgun and fired, Black said.

At that point, one man in the first vehicle got out of the car and ran, Black said. The other man followed the white car a short distance and then several shots were apparently exchanged. A total of five to seven rounds were fired from the 9mm gun inside the white car and four to six rounds were fired from the 12-gauge shotgun by the driver of the other car who had by that time gotten out of his vehicle and was hiding behind it for protection, Black said.

LuAnne Galpin said she was sleeping when she, "woke up to a loud noise in the distance." After what she later determined was the first gunshot, she said there was a short pause and then three or four more shots.

Jerry Christensen said the first shot happened just outside his house.

Christensen said he saw the first vehicle driving slowly down his street, then stop and turn around and head back in the direction it came.

Elaine Torgerson and her grandson were also awakened by the shots.

"It scared me," she said. "I thought they were shooting at our windows. I definitely heard the shots, at least two or three shots."

After the first shot, Torgerson said, she heard one of the cars rev up its engine "like they were trying to go really fast."

Another neighbor, Gary Masoc, said he heard the car revving its engine and then at least "five pops."

Torgerson said she then saw the white car speed away down her street.

Police arrived shortly after the shooting began. They stopped the first man, who had regrouped with his friend, and questioned the two. Investigators were still looking Thursday afternoon for the white car.

There were no reports of any of the surrounding homes being damaged by the gunfire.

The shotgun allegedly used in the shootout was recovered. The case was still under investigation Thursday afternoon, and no arrests had been made.