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Three people arrested in fatal Kearns shooting, but family wants answers

KEARNS, Utah — Three people are under arrest in connection with a fatal shooting in Kearns on the morning of March 9, 2021.

The parking lot of a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building was the scene of the shooting that left one person dead and two other people in serious condition.

Kearns resident Alonso Gerardo Garcia-Mendoza, 32,  was identified as the victim. Police reported that he died at the scene. Two passengers in his vehicle were also injured.

Jonathan Montrail Johnson

Police documents show that Jonathan Montrail Johnson, 21, is under arrest on suspicion of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, and 11 counts of felony discharge of a firearm. Two teens have also been taken into custody.

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Officials from the Unified Police Department said that Johnson was identified by witnesses and security camera video as one of the men who shot into a parked car in the Church parking lot near 5240 West and 5400 South. He then fled the scene on foot, returned to the scene of the shooting with 3 other men, and was later found at a residence in Kearns, where he was arrested.

Police say the shooting was the result of a “ruse” drug transaction. The victim was found with a large sum of money in his vehicle.

Victim family unsatisfied

KSL TV reporter Andrew Adams met with the victim’s family, who said they believe Garcia-Mendoza was not intending to buy drugs when he met the other men in the parking lot. 

The family says that rumors and speculation are hurting the family, as they grieve the loss of Garcia-Mendoza and try to get to the bottom of what he was doing in that parking lot.

Be sure to watch the complete story by KSL TV reporter Andrew Adams, above.