WEST JORDAN — A woman working at a fast-food restaurant was hospitalized in extremely critical condition Friday after she was shot in the chest during an apparent robbery.
Three people — including a woman who had recently been fired from the restaurant — were taken into custody a few hours after the shooting at Taco Time, 9068 S. 2700 West. Two people were booked into the Salt Lake County Jail.
Emilio D. Guzman, 22, the man detectives believe fired the shot, was booked for investigation of aggravated assault and aggravated robbery. He told investigators "the gun went off accidently," according to a Salt Lake County Jail report.
The other person arrested, Sherry M. Moreno, 21, is a former employee of Taco Time. She was fired about three months ago after she was accused of stealing money from the till, according to restaurant general manager Emil Wolfgramm.
The shooting incident began about 10 p.m. Thursday, when employees at Taco Time were cleaning up for the evening. The restaurant was closed, and there were no customers in the building, Wolfgramm said.
The four employees still working in the restaurant heard constant pounding on the back door, he said. They ignored the noise for several minutes, then eventually opened the door, believing it was either the boyfriend of one of the employees or a manager. Instead, they found a man and woman with bandanas covering their faces, Wolfgramm said.
The employee who answered the door quickly tried to slam it shut. As she did so, a shot was fired at the same time. A woman, 35, who was standing about three feet away, was hit in the chest. She was taken by medical helicopter to Intermountain Medical Center. A Taco Time employee identified the victim as Teresa Derrington.
The man and the woman who had been outside the restaurant door ran off immediately after the shooting.
Several law enforcement agencies, including members of the Joint Criminal Apprehension Task Force and the Salt Lake Metro Gang Unit, helped track down three people and take them into custody, thanks in part to the discovery of discarded clothing. The weapon believed to have been used in the shooting was recovered from a shed about a block away, West Jordan Police Capt. Dan Gallagher said.
The people who ran from the business reportedly changed clothes inside the shed.
At some point, the woman believed to have been involved in the shooting was driven back to the area by an unknown man — apparently to pick up the discarded clothing and possibly the gun, Gallagher said.
Both the woman and the man who drove her there were questioned at the police station. Based on information collected from those interviews, investigators went to a Murray home and arrested the man believed to have fired the gun.
"This was just really good police work," Gallagher said.
Investigators determined that robbery was the motive for the confrontation, said West Jordan Police Sgt. Drew Sanders. Nothing, however, was taken from the restaurant.
Taco Time was open for business Friday, but the minds of employees were on their co-worker. Wolfgramm said Derrington was a single mom who had been working at Taco Time for about seven months.
"She's a hard worker. She's one of those people who's willing to work and provide for her family," he said.
At last word, Wolfgramm said Derrington's condition was stable.
The other employees at work that night "were pretty shaken up with the whole situation," he said.
In January, the same restaurant was robbed by a man and woman armed with a machete and a knife. "The sad part is, this is a very nice neighborhood," Wolfgramm said. "That's the scary part. Even in a nice place, bad things can still happen."
Police will speak with prosecutors to determine whether to file charges against the man who drove the woman back to the area.
Guzman was convicted of attempted possession of a controlled substance in 2007 and felony burglary and theft in 2005. He was sentenced to zero to five years in prison on each count, with the sentences to run concurrently, according to court records.
Moreno was charged Tuesday in 3rd District Court with felony drug possession.
Contributing: Lana Groves