Police: Man who attacked father, son in tire store claimed 'Mexican Mafia' was after him
UPDATE: Dec. 2, 6:38 a.m. -- A June probable cause statement provided more information on Covington's history.
(KUTV) — A father and son are recovering after a man attacked them at their Salt Lake City tire shop on Tuesday, police say.
Police arrested Alan Dale Covington, 50, and recommended he be charged with two counts of aggravated assault, among other charges.
Court documents state a man believed to be Covington entered Lopez Tires at 1621 S., Main Street on Tuesday and said "I'm going to kill someone."
Covington was said to be swinging a three-foot metal pole. The occupants of the shop, including Jose Lopez and Luis Lopez, fled outside. The man struck Jose Lopez, Luis Lopez's father, in the shoulder. When Luis picked up a car jack pole to defend his father, Covington reportedly struck Luis Lopez in the face with the pole and fled on foot.
Police found Luis Lopez "bleeding profusely from his face" and "gurgling and coughing on his own blood," according to a document indicting Covington for the crime.
Covington's indictment states that, when questioned by detectives, he claimed "that the Mexican Mafia had been after him since 2008" and that he went into the tire shop to see if anyone there knew anyone in that group because "all of them know each other."
The Mexica Mafia is a "notorious" prison gang Covington may have encountered in the past, said Det. Greg Wilking with the Salt Lake City Police Department. Neither Luis nor Jose Lopez have any affiliation with that group, Wilking said.
When detectives asked Covington if he went to the business because the owners were Mexican, Covington told them he did, court documents state.
A GoFundMe posted by Lopez's family member states Luis and Jose were victims of a hate crime.
The GoFundMe for Luis Lopez's medical bills, posted by Veronica Lopez, reads:
"On November 27 2018 my brother Luis G Lopez and Jose L Lopez were victims of a hate crime at my dads mechanic shop Lopez Tires. My dads business has been closed since. My dad got 8 stitches in his arm and has his back severely bruised due to the blows he received. My brothers right side of his face was shattered, he had a three hour surgery to place a titanium plate from the right side of his face to his nose to be able to attach the bones and keep his eyeball in place and a plate under that. We are asking for your help through this difficult time, being that my brother nor dad of any health insurance, any donations made will be greatly appreciated by our entire family. Thank you all for your prayers and positive vibes. Our family is overwhelmed by all the love and support!"
Covington specifically hated the Mexican Mafia, but not necessarily Mexicans in general, Wilking said. He also said Covington has mental health issues and had recently used drugs at the time of the attack. For those reasons, Wilking said, police did not plan to pursue hate crime charges.
Wilking said police have to look at intent to determine whether Covington can be charged with a hate crime, but that the Salt Lake County District Attorney will have the final say on charges.
Covington was arrested for aggravated assault earlier this year, according to a probable cause statement from June. According to the statement, Covington was in a relationship with someone and engaged to that individual for at least three years, until he punched the victim in the face and brandished a handgun, and the victim felt threatened and hid from him. The document also stated that an unidentified third party witnessed Covington brandishing the gun.
Luis Lopez was released from the hospital on Friday, Jose Lopez confirmed to 2News.