GRANTSVILLE — A neighborhood is heartbroken and in shock after a Friday night shooting inside a Grantsville home left a family shattered with four dead, including three children.
To Laurie Bahe, a neighbor of 25 years in the tight-knit and quiet street, the crime scene police are investigating as a homicide is unimaginable.
“I pray for the family that it happened to and the people that survived that are going to have a really difficult time with it,” Bahe said, crying. “They were a really, really nice family. It’s just shocking that it happened.”
Police have yet to identify those who were killed — an adult female, two juvenile females and one juvenile boy — but Bahe said they were a “happy” and “outgoing” family that never missed a single neighborhood block party.
“I’m just in shock that it happened,” she said.
Police have confirmed all victims found dead in the 93 Eastmoor Drive home were all related — as was an adult male who was hospitalized with injuries and a juvenile suspect who has been taken into custody.
Bahe said she knew the family for at least 10 years — and she knew the mother as someone who “took very great pride in her gardening” and wasn’t angered when her neighbor’s cows snuck under the fence to eat her grapes. Bahe said the children were smart and sweet, helped neighbors with yard work, and helped return dogs when they ran away.
“I feel sorry for the son, all of them, the dad,” Bahe said, her voice cracking as she spoke of a college-age child who was not living at the home. “It’s going to be devastating for him and his dad.”
Police responded to the scene Friday night after a person, who is unrelated to the family, called 911 after coming to the house. That person drove an injured adult victim believed to be the father of the family and the suspected shooter, who is under the age of 18, to the hospital, where the teen was taken into custody, said Grantsville Police Cpl. Rhonda Fields.
There are no previous reports of police incidents or criminal history at the home, Fields said.
As of Saturday night, police still hadn’t released the names of the victims or who was arrested, but local social media pages have swelled with outpouring of support for a family member — the eldest son who is a student at Utah Valley University — who posted on Facebook he couldn’t get a hold of his family after he learned about the shooting on social media.
“Anyone in Grantsville know (what) is going on??? I can’t get ahold of my family and they live on the street where the shooting happened,” he wrote on Facebook.
The Deseret News is not identifying him until police release information on the family.
As dozens of commenters said they were praying for him, he posted a comment saying dispatchers didn’t give him any information and he “pretty much had to piece it together.”
Several hours later, the son posted he was with his father who was hospitalized in stable condition, thanking the community for their prayers and support.
“I just want to thank you all for your prayers and your support toward me and my dad,” he wrote. “All I can ask is for your continued support. Seriously, thank you.”
Throughout the day Saturday, shockwaves of heartache reverberated throughout the tight-knit Tooele County community.
“There are no words to describe our heartbreak and grief,” Jason Killian, a stake president with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in a statement. “We are devastated and so deeply saddened by what has occurred. We love this family, and will support them and the rest of our small community as we mourn together.”
He asked for “consideration and sensitivity” as community members express their condolences.
“We pray for this family and each member of our close community, and invite any who may be struggling to reach out to us for spiritual counseling, and to seek care from mental health professionals for any help they may need,” President Killian said.
The Tooele School District offered condolences to the family on Twitter Saturday afternoon, noting the district’s crisis team has been working to ensure students and staff will have counseling services in the Grantsville area and in schools throughout the district on Tuesday.
“We are deeply saddened and shocked to hear of the events that occurred in Grantsville last night,” the district tweeted. “We want to express our sincere condolences to those who have been impacted. It’s important that we stand together to care & support each other through this difficult time.”
Patty Deakin-Daley, the administrator of the widely used community Facebook page Tooele County 411, in a post Saturday morning urged community members to refrain from posting about the shooting on the page, noting the “eldest child of the family learned of his family’s tragedy on Facebook, something no one should ever have to do.”
“Please comment your love, support, condolences and lifting messages here to support him, and to help him get through unimaginable pain and grief,” Deakin-Daley wrote. “We are a loving, kind, and supportive community ... Let us rally around this young man and his dad.”
Hundreds commented on the post, expressing thoughts, prayers and love for the family.
Deakin-Daley told the Deseret News there has been a wave of Tooele County residents asking her ways they can help, offering to bring the father and son meals, a place to stay so they don’t have to return to the home, and help with funeral expenses. Deakin-Daley started a Facebook fundraiser to raise money for the family.
“The outpouring is definitely strong, and I would expect nothing less from this community,” Deakin-Daley said. “This community is the kindest most compassionate place I’ve ever been.”
By Saturday morning, all trace of a crime scene had been cleared from the Grantsville neighborhood and the home where police worked through the night. No crime scene tape or police barricades were visible outside the home. Nothing seemed amiss except for a set of blinds leaning askew against the inside of the front window. A white van with stickers on the back window of a seven-member stick figure family sat in the home’s driveway.
Contributing: Tania Dean