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Prosecutors charge ‘habitual offender’ in South Salt Lake gas station shooting

SHARE Prosecutors charge ‘habitual offender’ in South Salt Lake gas station shooting

A South Salt Lake police vehicle is pictured at a fire in South Salt Lake on Monday, March 15, 2021.

Steve Griffin, Deseret News

A West Valley man accused of shooting another man in the face outside of a South Salt Lake convenience store in December was charged Thursday.

Christopher Lee Barros, 33, was charged in 3rd District Court with aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a restricted person. Because prosecutors say Barros is a habitual violent offender, the charges were increased to first-degree felonies. He was also charged with obstructing justice, a second-degree felony.

The incident happened on Dec. 4 just after 6:30 a.m. inside a Dodge Durango in the parking lot at Maverik, 3260 S. West Temple.

“I should just jack you,” Barros told the victim shortly before shooting him in the face, according to police.

Police later attempted to interview the victim at a local hospital who could only write on a dry erase board because his jaw was wired shut, according to charging documents. He stated that he was picked up by three other people at a motel on State Street and they drove to the Maverik. The man claimed he did not know the identity of the driver but knew him “from the streets,” the charges state.

According to another witness, the victim had asked for a ride just to “get out of the cold” and offered to pay for gas. But when they reached the gas station the victim said he didn’t have any money, according to the charges.

While sitting in the parking lot Barros, who was in the back seat, “reached around with his left hand and shot him in the face,” according to the charges.

The victim wrote the name of a street gang on the dry erase board “and continually tapped these words,” the charges state.

Police say Barros is a documented gang member with a “violent gang-related criminal history” and was on parole for robbery and weapons convictions at the time of his arrest.

Court records show that Barros has a lengthy criminal history dating back to 2007, including charges for burglary, aggravated kidnapping and drug-related crimes.

After his arrest, Barros was sent directly to the Utah State Prison on a parole violation, giving prosecutors extra time to file charges.