Two people have been arrested after police say they shot and killed a 16-year-old West Jordan boy on Christmas Eve after luring him to a park under the guise of asking him to join their gang. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
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WEST JORDAN — A 16-year-old boy who believed he was meeting with two other people to talk about joining their gang was shot and killed on Christmas Eve in West Jordan, according to police.
The body of Kenneth Gant, of West Jordan, was found on Christmas Day behind a storage container in the parking lot of the Gene Fullmer Fitness and Recreation Center, 8015 S. 2200 West. Police say he had been shot multiple times.
Jedediah Zane Newsome, 18, was arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of murder, two counts of discharge of a firearm, obstructing justice and being a restricted person in possession of a weapon. A 17-year-old boy was also arrested for investigation of the same charges and placed in juvenile detention.
On Dec. 25, Newsome and the 17-year-old stole a car from a driveway in West Valley City at gunpoint, according to a police booking affidavit. The two were spotted by police and both a car chase and foot chase ensued. Both were eventually found hiding in a backyard and arrested.
While being interviewed by detectives, Newsome told them that his 17-year-old friend “had committed a homicide the night before in West Jordan,” the affidavit states.
After further investigation, West Jordan police detectives then interviewed Newsome who told them that he had contacted Gant on social media and asked to meet up with him under the guise of possibly joining their gang, according to the affidavit.
“(Newsome) said he had not ever met the victim before and lured him to the location due to gang affiliations,” the affidavit says.
Newsome believed Gant was a member of a rival gang. He said he “asked the victim why he had not already joined (his) gang, knowing that the victim had previously been told no for being a (rival) gang member,” according to the affidavit.
But when Gant did not admit to be a member of a rival gang, Newsome allegedly told police that that upset him.
Gant, Newsome and the 17-year-old then walked across the parking lot “under the guise of smoking marijuana.” They stopped by a storage container and Newsome claimed the teenager shot Gant twice, according to police.
“(Newsome) said he then took the gun from (the 17-year-old), went up to the victim, who was on the ground, and shot him two more times,” the affidavit states.
The two said they then ran from the scene “and hid out for the night,” according to the affidavit. They returned the next day and saw the large police presence that had discovered Gant’s body.
Newsome also told police he had recently run away from a Juvenile Justice Program and stole a gun during a car burglary, the affidavit states.