SOUTH SALT LAKE — Aggravated murder charges were filed Tuesday against the man accused of shooting and killing two brothers and their friend inside an SUV last month.
Gerald Radckiff Grant, 19, is charged in 3rd District Court with three counts of aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, and obstructing justice, a second-degree felony.
South Salt Lake police believe Grant shot and killed brothers Angel Lopez-Salinas, 20, and Lauro "Raul" Lopez-Salinas, 19, as well as their friend Armando Cuenca-Curiel, 17. Grant and the three victims were inside a Ford Explorer parked in the middle of the road at 325 E. Park Creek Lane (3060 South) when he shot all three of them on Feb. 18, charging documents allege.
Grant was also shot and injured in the leg in the incident, court documents say.
Grant claims he shot the men in self-defense, according to a recently released search warrant affidavit. The three others in the vehicle were trying to rob him, he told police.
Another man told investigators that Grant spoke with him earlier in the day "about getting some marijuana." The informant said he and another man — the owner of a Hyundai Sonata used to transport Grant — put Grant in contact with the others, and he entered the Explorer with them at 283 E. 3300 South, charging documents state.
"(The two men) intended to follow the Ford SUV in (their) Hyundai Sonata, however, they lost sight of the Ford SUV," charging documents say. "A few minutes later, Grant called … and stated he had been shot and asked for them to come get him."
Grant's two associates drove by the crime scene in the Sonata and picked him up, charges state. After being picked up, according to the informant's account listed in the charges, "Grant told him he had brought out his gun and one of the males shot him in the leg."
"Grant then told him he shot all three males in the SUV," the charges state.
The search warrant affidavit also states that Grant claims the three others had "beat on him" before he shot them.
The informant ran to the scene of the shooting "and observed three males in the SUV incapacitated with obvious injuries," according to the charges.
Court documents say Grant was taken to a local hospital more than two hours after the shootings. The owner of the Sonata wanted to distance himself from the night's events, so Grant's girlfriend eventually picked him up in a Mercedes and drove him to University Hospital in Salt Lake City, court documents say.
Charging documents say Angel Lopez-Salinas suffered gunshot wounds to the head and right bicep, and his younger brother, Raul, was also shot in the head. Cuenca-Curiel was shot in the chest. Cuenca-Curiel died at the scene and Lopez-Salinas died two days later.
Witnesses reportedly saw a man — later thought to be Grant, charging documents say — limp out of the Explorer and talk on a cellphone before being picked up by a passenger car. Police officers later spoke with Grant at University Hospital, and he allegedly told them he was homeless and didn't have a cellphone.
Court documents say police discovered Grant's cellphone, at least one other mobile phone, blood and bandages in the Mercedes Grant's girlfriend used to transport him.
In the SUV, police reported finding a handgun, an airsoft rile, shell casings from multiple guns, a baggy of marijuana, multiple cellphones, brass knuckles and drug paraphernalia. The vehicle smelled like marijuana, the search warrant affidavit stated. In a yard next to the shooting scene, police found a second handgun.
Court records show Grant, whose last known address is Miami, Florida, has a limited adult criminal history in Utah. He was charged in November with two counts purchase, transfer, possession or use of a firearm by a restricted person, a third-degree felony; drug possession with the intent to distribute, also a third-degree felony; and use or possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor.
On Feb. 5, Grant entered a plea in abeyance to the drug distribution charge and the remainder of the allegations were dismissed.
A misdemeanor theft charge against Grant was dismissed in January.
No initial court date had been set Tuesday in the aggravated murder case against Grant, who is being held in the Salt Lake County Jail.