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Fourth person arrested in killing, robbery in Kearns church parking lot

SHARE Fourth person arrested in killing, robbery in Kearns church parking lot
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Alonso Garcia-Mendoza’s wife, Jess, hugs a friend at a vigil for Alonso Garcia outside of a Latter-Day Saints meetinghouse at 5305 W. 5400 South in Kearns on Sunday March 14, 2021. Garcia-Mendoza was shot and killed in the parking lot. Unified police have now arrested a fourth person in connection with the March 9 killing.

Annie Barker, Deseret News

KEARNS — Police have arrested a fourth person in connection with the shooting death of a man at a church parking lot in Kearns.

Shihab Wesaga, 18, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on Monday for investigation of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, and 12 counts of illegal discharge of a firearm.

He is accused of being one of four people who participated in the fatal shooting of Alonso Gerardo Garcia-Mendoza, 32, and the wounding of two others during a robbery attempt, according to police.

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Photos of Alonso Garcia-Mendoza are pictured at vigil for him outside of a Latter-Day Saints meetinghouse at 5305 W. 5400 South in Kearns on Sunday March 14, 2021. Garcia-Mendoza was shot and killed in the parking lot.

Annie Barker, Deseret News

Jonathan Montrail Johnson, 20, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail Friday for investigation of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and 12 counts of shooting at another person. Two boys, ages 17 and 15, were also been taken into custody and booked into juvenile detention.

According to police, Johnson, Wesaga and the two teenagers had arranged to meet for a drug deal with Garcia-Mendoza and his two associates, but had planned to rob the three men once they got there.

On March 9, the two groups met in the parking lot of a meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 5305 W. 5400 South. Johnson and Wesaga opened fire on Garcia-Mendoza’s vehicle while he was still in his car, according to a police affidavit. Garcia-Mendoza tried to drive away but crashed into a wall a short distance later, apparently too injured to drive.

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Shihab Wesaga, 18, was arrested Tuesday, March 16, 2021, in connection with the fatal shooting and robbery of a man in a church parking lot in Kearns a week ago. Two others were also shot and wounded. Wesaga is the fourth person to be arrested in the case.

Salt Lake County Jail

Two other men with Garcia-Mendoza suffered injuries that were not considered life-threatening. A large sum of money was found by police in Garcia-Mendoza’s car.

Wesaga ran from the scene after the shooting and was not found by police. After detectives identified him as the fourth suspect, “contact was eventually made with family members of Wesaga,” the affidavit states.

On Monday, family members contacted police and helped arrange for him to surrender.

No formal criminal charges have been filed in the case so far.