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Police arrest 3 in connection with Kearns homicide

SHARE Police arrest 3 in connection with Kearns homicide

KEARNS — Three people have been arrested in connection with a shooting that left one man dead and another man injured, police said.

On Saturday, Unified Police Sgt. Melody Gray said "after tireless hours" investigators were able to develop information that led to the arrests of Lewellyn Auvaa, 38, of Kearns, Lafeta Piuila, 45, of Salt Lake City, and Joleen Warner, 29, also of Salt Lake City.

The three are being held in connection with a shooting that left Midvale resident John Herman Tonga, 34, dead in the front yard of a home at 4805 S. 4720 West. Another man who has not been identified sustained a gunshot wound but was expected to survive, police said.

Auvaa was arrested after detectives spotted him walking near 1500 West and 3500 South, according to a probable cause statement.

Police arrived at the home about 7:30 Wednesday morning to find six people were inside. A group had gathered earlier in a single room in the home, "where drugs were being used," the statement says.

One person in the home later told detectives someone known as "Jojo" walked toward the group with a handgun, pointed it at a man after a fight broke out and robbed the man of his money and jewelry. The night before, the witness said, Auvaa and another man had talked about the robbery, according to police.

Just before gunfire was exchanged, the front door was kicked in and Auvaa and Tonga entered the home, the statement says.