MURRAY — Murray police say an incident involving a man accused of shooting at two Hispanic men who were following him will be investigated as a hate crime.
About noon on Tuesday, two people in a BMW drove past a Hispanic man working at 136 W. Fireclay Ave. and shot paintballs at him, barely missing the man, according to a police affidavit.
Moments later, police say occupants of the same BMW shot paintballs at a second Hispanic man. The first victim then got into his pickup truck, stopped to pick up the second victim who is a co-worker, and they both followed the BMW, according to Murray police.
As the men were following the BMW, the occupants of the BMW started firing a real gun at them, the affidavit states.
“The victim chased the suspect up to 3185 South and State Street where the victim ran into the suspect. The victim then stated that the suspect shot at him more. South Salt Lake Police Department recovered .40-caliber casings and fragments from bullets on the ground,” according to the affidavit.
The chase continued to 2700 South and 270 East where the men in the pickup rammed the BMW again, making the car inoperable, the affidavit says.
The driver ran from the scene but police said they were able to capture the passenger, Andrew Guarino, 33, of Pearl River, Louisiana.
“The victim stated that he saw both the driver and the passenger with a handgun. There were multiple witnesses that reported to police they saw a grey truck chasing a silver BMW, and heard gunshots,” according to the affidavit.
As police started collecting evidence, they reported finding two rounds fired into one of the tires of the victims’ truck, and two other trucks near 3185 S. State that had also been damaged by gunfire.
When police interviewed Guarino, he “made multiple racist comments regarding the Hispanic victims,” the affidavit states. “The suspect continued stating negative comments about the victims’ nationality, and therefore the assault charge will be enhanced due to it being a hate crime.”
Guarino was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of discharge of a firearm, two counts of aggravated assault and assault. The search for the second man continued Wednesday.
Police on Wednesday said they were still investigating how many shots were fired in total, as well as whether the victims initially had paintballs shot at them simply because of their race.
However, police noted in their affidavit that the case “will be considered a hate crime, as the suspect said multiple negative comments regarding the victim’s color, and nationality, and stated that he was going to get him.”
Guarino further threatened to “come after” the officers who arrested him if he is released and said he“didn’t care if he came back to jail,” the police affidavit states.
In December, Guarino was charged in 3rd District Court with robbery, a second-degree felony. In that case, Guarino and a woman attempted to shoplift items from a Winco store in South Salt Lake and Guarino then assaulted an employee who tried to stop them, according to charging documents.