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Utah police arrest two people in connection with shooting at Provo protest


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Courtesy ABC4

PROVO, Utah (ABC4 News) – Two people have been arrested in connection with violence at protest in Provo.

Provo City police said the incident occurred at a planned police rally and counter-protest Monday evening.

KSL reports a group calling itself Back to Blue had planned to drive around the Provo Police Department and honk their horns to show support for law enforcement. Another group called Marching for Racial Equality staged the counter-protest.

Police said both events coincided without incident until 8:38 p.m. when they began receiving reports of shots fire and a hit-and-run. A short time later, police learned about a shooting victim at Utah Valley Hospital.

Video footage provided by witnesses showed a white SUV driving south on University Avenue before pulling into the right turn lane to turn onto Center Street. A group of protesters began crowding around the SUV, and police said a male protestor ran to the passenger side of the vehicle, pointed a handgun at driver and shot one round through the window. The driver, who was struck by the bullet, hit the gas trying to leave the situation.

“The same protester ran after the vehicle and shot a second-round that went through the rear passenger window. The video then shows that the protester conceals the firearm and continues to protest,” according to the police statement.

Police said this same protester later approached another vehicle at 500 North and University Avenue striking and breaking the window with the handgun.

Jesse Taggart, 33, of Salt Lake City, was arrested in connection with the shooting Monday night. He was booked into the Utah County Jail on suspicion of attempted aggravated murder, aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, rioting, threatening use of a weapon, criminal mischief, and firing a weapon near a highway.

Police also arrested Samantha Darling, 27, of Ogden City. She was booked into custody at the Utah County Jail on suspicion of obstruction of justice and rioting.

Provo Police Sgt. Nisha King told that the man was not part of the protest or counterprotest that had been going on, but was just driving in the area. The victim, a 60-year-old Provo resident, remained hospitalized Tuesday but was “stable,” reported.