Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityPolice: Man arrested for shooting at Provo protest is known 'instigator' | KUTV
Close Alert

Police: Man arrested for shooting at Provo protest is known 'instigator'

Jesse Taggart (Photo: Utah County Sheriff's Office)
Jesse Taggart (Photo: Utah County Sheriff's Office)
Facebook Share IconTwitter Share IconEmail Share Icon
Comment bubble

One of the men accused of shooting a driver during a protest in Provo on Monday was known to Salt Lake City Police, according to Det. Greg Wilking.

Jesse Taggart, 33, participated in many of the protests in Salt Lake over the past month and was identified "as one of the more active instigators of behavior that bordered on violence," Wilking wrote in a press release on Thursday.

Wilking did not expound on what other incidents of violence police believe Taggart participated in, or whether he is believed to have been present during a May 30 riot in downtown Salt Lake.

After Monday's shooting, police in Salt Lake worked with their counterparts in Provo to arrest Taggart, who was located in Salt Lake at the time of his arrest.

The shooting was reported at 8:45 p.m. on Monday, when investigators state the man who was shot was trying to drive through an intersection blocked by protesters.

"During the confrontation, a firearm was brandished and rounds were fired into the vehicle," according to an affidavit for Taggart's arrest.

The driver was hit in the arm and struck by shrapnel in his eye and stomach. Police state they found another round of ammunition lodged in the vehicle's steering wheel.

Cell phone video of the shooting was shared with police. They state it showed Taggart continue to walk with the protesters, and using a handgun to break the window of another vehicle trying to maneuver through the blocked intersection.

They state Taggart then got into a car driven by Samantha Darling, 27, who was also arrested Monday night. The license plate number on Darling's vehicle helped police locate her and Taggart.

"Taggart was positively identified through video footage recorded at the scene, witness accounts, and physical evidence recovered at his place of residence," an investigator wrote. "Both Darling and Taggart were recorded with dozens of other protestors (sic) blocking traffic and causing damage to vehicles causing alarm to citizens and other protestors."

Days later, police announced another man was arrested. Bradley Glenn Walters, 29, is not accused of firing shots that night, but police believe he ran after the driver who was shot, pointing a gun at the man until he was gone.

He was booked into jail on suspicion of aggravated assault and rioting. Darling is accused of obstructing justice and rioting.

Taggart faces three felony and three misdemeanor charges, including: aggravated assault, attempted aggravated murder, rioting, using a dangerous weapon during a fight, firing a gun near a highway, and criminal mischief.

At the time of this report, neither Taggart, Darling, nor Walters had been formally charged by prosecutors, so it's possible they might not face all of the above charges in court.

On Wednesday, protesters again converged on Provo in response to what happened Monday night. The gatherings were peaceful, with two groups lining Center Street with the aim of decrying violence: One, a group organized by Insurgence USA; the other, a counter-protest of that group.

“I generally have a weapon with me, but last night, up here three blocks away, these protesters stopped a vehicle, and when the man tried to get through, they shot him. That’s why I’m here tonight. That is not going to happen in my state and my town," Les Harward, who came from Delta to participate, told 2News.

Some, including an organizer with Insurgence USA, indicated they believe the driver who was shot was trying to drive into protesters who were blocking the road.

Comment bubble

“After seeing the violence ... and everything that transpired that day, it came to my realization that this place needed it the most, because nowhere in Salt Lake City have I seen that just blatant hatred, people trying to run people over. Just disrespectful," John Sullivan told 2News.

Loading ...