3-year-old cancer patient injured in shooting

Police arrested a man after three people, including a toddler, were injured after a shooting outside a Smith's Grocer...

Posted: Apr 13, 2018 8:41 AM
Updated: Apr 13, 2018 8:41 AM

Police arrested a man after three people, including a toddler, were injured after a shooting outside a Smith's Grocery store in West Valley City on Wednesday, officials said.

Police arrested Rufino Cervantes, 36. He was booked into jail for investigation of felony discharge with injury, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a restricted person.

Cervantes fired one shot that struck his own leg, and the bullet fragmented, striking three other people, West Valley City police said on Twitter.

Cervantes was found inside an apartment at the Shadowbrook Apartments near 3852 S. 1845 West, about 5:30 p.m. He was injured and transported away from the scene in an ambulance; the injuries weren't caused when he was arrested, according to West Valley police.

Esmeralda Padilla, a 3-year-old girl, her mother, Erika Ortega, and another woman were each injured in the leg, West Valley police officials said on Twitter. The incident took place shortly before 2 p.m. near 4065 S. Redwood Road.

All are expected to survive, West Valley City Deputy Police Chief Matt Elson said.

Ortega's husband Hugo Padilla said his wife was hit once and Esmeralda, his daughter, was hit twice while they were walking out of the Smith's.

The family, from Las Vegas, has been in Utah for the last five months so that Esmeralda could receive treatment at Primary Children's Hospital after being diagnosed with kidney cancer.

As of a few weeks ago, Esmeralda is cancer-free, Padilla said.

"We are fighting with the cancer and everything and then this happens," he said. "It's very hard."

Ortega later told KSL that she was in good health, but she said Esmeralda may need surgery to remove a bullet from her leg. Both were discharged from Primary Children's Hospital later on Wednesday night.

Police initially said the gunman fired several shots toward the entrance of the store and then fled toward Redwood Road, police said.

Investigators have not yet determined a motive for the shooting, Elson said. Police used a K-9 unit and a helicopter to search for the gunman.

Residents at Redwood, Shadowbrook and Somerset apartments were asked to shelter in place for several hours as police searched for the gunman. The shelter in place order for the apartment complexes was lifted at about 4:15 p.m., police said.

Several Granite School District schools in the area were also on shelter in place, including Granger Elementary, Fremont Elementary, Eisenhower Junior High and Taylorsville Elementary. The shelter in place was later lifted.

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