One adult and one juvenile are in custody after a shooting in Orem on Wednesday night that killed another juvenile and injured two others.
Sidney Ramon Rodriguez, 18, was arrested on suspicion of murder, aggravated murder and obstruction of justice, all first-degree felonies. Orem police also arrested Rodriguez’s younger brother, an unnamed juvenile.
The shooting, which police described as a drug deal gone bad based on interviews with witnesses, is believed to have taken place at 165 E. 1785 North in Orem near a church.
One juvenile was pronounced dead on the scene and two other juveniles were taken to the hospital in critical condition, police said. The deceased’s name has not yet been publicly released.
According to a probable cause statement, an Orem officer responded to a report of shots being fired around 6:53 p.m. Witnesses said two males were seen with firearms and were reported to get into a white passenger car.
Officers were then called to a house in Orem and located four juvenile victims in a white Chevrolet Cavalier. The first victim, who was driving the vehicle, was found to have gunshot wounds in the back and lower buttocks, while the second victim was located in the front passenger seat and was uninjured.
A third victim, located near the rear passenger seat, sustained a gunshot wound to the right upper leg, while a fourth victim sustained wounds to his neck.
One of the victims stated in an interview with police that “this was a drug deal” and said he contacted Rodriguez through Snapchat. They met at a church at 1780 N. 165 East and Rodriguez “got into (the) victim’s car to proceed with the deal.”
Once Rodriquez was in the car, another suspect, allegedly his juvenile brother, “exited the suspect car and approached the rear driver side window with a rifle.”
According to police, “the suspect put the rifle inside the window and demanded the ‘dope’ and threatened to shoot.”
At that point, two of the juvenile victims grabbed the barrel of the rifle “and a fight for the rifle began,” during which a shot was fired and one of the victims was hit in the leg. Two additional shots were fired, and the victims “backed up and tried to flee the area” and the suspect “then started shooting at the back of the car with a hand gun.”
The victims drove to a friend’s house and were taken to the hospital for treatment.
The juvenile suspect turned himself in and was interviewed by Orem police. He stated that he and his brother, Rodriguez, had set up a drug deal, adding that Rodriguez and the driver of their vehicle did not know of his plans to rob the victims and said “he hid a rifle and a handgun on his person.”
The suspect stated that the victim grabbed the barrel of the rifle “and in the midst of trying to grab the rifle back he fired a round into the car.” At that point, according to the suspect, one of the victims grabbed the barrel “and he lost control of the rifle and it landed inside the car.”
The suspect said he heard two more rounds fire from the rifle “and feared for his brother so he pulled a handgun out of his waistband.” As the victims’ vehicle was backing out to drive away, the suspect allegedly fired 10 rounds into the car “because his brother was still in there along with the rifle.”
“At this point suspect 1 said his brother jumped out of the moving car with the rifle and once his brother was out, he fired 4 more rounds at the vehicle,” Orem police wrote in the probable cause statement.
The suspects later drove to Lincoln Beach and threw the guns into Utah Lake.
Rodriguez was found by Utah County Major Crimes Task Force after being identified through Snapchat and was brought into the Orem Police Department for an interview. According to police, Rodriguez admitted to the officers that the drug deal took place “and the details were consistent with both his brother’s story” and that of one of the victims.
During the interview, Rodriguez identified his juvenile brother. He also identified the driver of the suspect vehicle as “Chance.”
Rodriguez stated that “this wasn’t supposed to go down this way and no one was supposed to get hurt and then blames the victims for grabbing the gun which caused shots to be fired.”
“The way that (Rodriguez) stated this, indicated that this was a planned robbery that wasn’t supposed to end with someone getting hurt,” police wrote.
Connor Richards covers government, the environment and south Utah County for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at [email protected] and 801-344-2599.