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West Valley man charged in vicious hammer attack

Gerardo Enrique Perez, who witnesses said was "acting like a zombie" when he severely beat a man with a knife and hammer, has been charged with attempted murder.
Gerardo Enrique Perez, who witnesses said was "acting like a zombie" when he severely beat a man with a knife and hammer, has been charged with attempted murder.
Salt Lake County Booking

SALT LAKE CITY — A man who witnesses said was "acting like a zombie" when he allegedly beat a man with a knife and hammer has been charged with attempted murder.

Gerardo Enrique Perez, 19, of West Valley City, was charged in 3rd District Court Thursday with attempted murder and aggravated burglary, first-degree felonies; obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony; three counts of aggravated assault, a third-degree felony; and interfering with an arresting officer, a class B misdemeanor.

On Jan. 28, Perez approached Leslie Beus, 68, who was outside his home near 5600 West and 4800 South, and without provocation started hitting him in the head "with a knife in one hand and a hammer in the other," according to charging documents.

"As the defendant was hitting Mr. Beus, he was saying, 'I'm going to kill you,'" the charges state.

Police say Beus suffered numerous skull fractures and had to have a portion of his skull removed. As of Wednesday he remained on life support, charging documents state.

Perez also threatened several other nearby people and when police attempted to arrest him in his house, they say he resisted even after a Taser was deployed and he was pepper sprayed.

In his mug shot, Perez is in a wheelchair-like device typically used for inmates who either refuse to walk or can't.

Utah state court records show Perez was convicted of consumption or possession of alcohol by a minor, a class B misdemeanor. In 2012, a hit-and-run case was transferred to juvenile court.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam