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Charges filed against trio in fatal drug deal shooting

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Unified police officers investigate a black BMW sedan that was involved in a shooting in the area of 5300 West and 5400 South in Kearns on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

KEARNS — Three people, including a teen, accused in a fatal shooting during an alleged drug robbery are now facing charges.

Jonathan Montrail Johnson, 20, of Salt Lake City; Shihab Wesaga, 18; and Dalmar Mohamed Abdi, 17, of Salt Lake City, were each charged in 3rd District Court with murder, aggravated robbery, obstructing justice and four counts of discharge of a firearm, all first-degree felonies; three counts of discharge of a firearm, a second-degree felony; and four counts of of discharge of a firearm, a third-degree felony. The degree of the charges related to shots fired were based on the severity of injuries each caused.

The three, along with a 15-year-old boy, are accused of luring Alonso Gerardo Garcia-Mendoza, 32, and two of his friends to a church parking lot at 5305 W. 5400 South on March 9 under the guise of a drug deal, and then shooting all three men, killing Garcia-Mendoza, while attempting to rob them, according to police.

Letari Washington, 28, suffered a gunshot wound to his chest and two collapsed lungs and was taken to a local hospital in critical condition, according to charging documents. Brence Hadley, 35, was shot in the hand and suffered facial injuries when Garcia-Mendoza’s car crashed as he tried to drive away after being shot, the charges state.

Three to four bullet holes were found in the windshield of the car, according to the charges. Twelve shell casings were found in the parking lot, the charges state.

After the shooting, the four suspects went to a nearby Maverik store and were recorded on security cameras, the charges state. Their vehicle was later found abandoned in a neighborhood near the convenience store.

According to the charges, Abdi told police that the juvenile had organized the plan to meet the three victims and rob them, and then had Abdi pick up the two others whom Abdi claimed he did not know.

“(The juvenile) told Abdi that ‘they needed guns’ and instructed Abdi to pick up ‘the shooters’ at a specific area,” according to the charges.

When they got to the parking lot, Abdi told investigators that Johnson and Wesaga got out of their car with guns drawn, prompting two of the victims to get back into Garcia-Mendoza’s vehicle and attempt to drive off, the charges state. That’s when the shots were fired, according to the charges.

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Photos of Alonso Garcia 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 was shot and killed in the parking lot.

Annie Barker, Deseret News