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2 in custody after possible drive-by shooting reported in Uintah County

FORT DUCHESNE, Uintah County — Two people were taken into custody Tuesday night after a car chase that began with a report of a possible drive-by shooting in the same Indian reservation neighborhood where a man was shot and killed Sunday.

Tuesday's incident began around 8:45 p.m. when a person called emergency dispatchers to report a possible drive-by shooting in the Richardson subdivision, law enforcement sources said.

Officers briefly chased an orange sport-utility vehicle seen leaving the subdivision. The chase ended just north of U.S. 40 near 5750 East when Eric Lee Welsh Jr. and a teenage male ran from the SUV, according to a Uintah County Jail report. One of the individuals was carrying a rifle as he ran into a wooded area, the report states.

Bureau of Indian Affairs police, Uintah County sheriff's deputies and Utah Highway Patrol troopers — some of them wearing tactical body armor and carrying AR-15s or shotguns — set up a perimeter and quickly took Welsh and the teen into custody.

A search of the area turned up discarded clothing, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Welsh later told investigators the clothing and drugs belonged to him, the report states.

Officers used thermal imaging devices to search for the rifle, but did not find it. A source told the Deseret News the gun was recovered about 11 a.m. Wednesday by members of the Ute Indian Tribe's Search and Rescue Team.

Welsh, 25, was booked into the Uintah County Jail for investigation of failure to stop for police, obstruction of justice, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. The teen was booked into the Split Mountain Youth Detention Center in Vernal.

Uintah County Sheriff Vance Norton said his agency is investigating the alleged offenses that happened outside the reservation boundary. Bureau of Indian Affairs police and the FBI have retained jurisdiction over any alleged offenses that happened on the reservation, the sheriff said.

It remained unclear Wednesday whether any shots were actually fired.

The incident came two days after Sean Lawrence Checora was killed outside a house in the Richardson subdivision, which is on the Uintah-Ouray Indian Reservation. Witnesses told investigators Checora, 20, was shot by someone who drove by the house about 3:30 a.m. Sunday.

After Checora was shot, police in several eastern Utah counties were told to look for an older model black Nissan Maxima with tinted windows and stock rims. So far, investigators have not said if they've found the car.

Bureau of Indian Affairs police and FBI agents are investigating Checora's death. Law enforcement sources said it doesn't appear to be linked to Tuesday night's incident.

Email: gliesik@deseretnews.com

Twitter: GeoffLiesik