After a late shift at work, Brian Sant was still awake in his apartment's living room at about 3 a.m. Thursday. His brother and 29-year-old son had long since gone to bed. There were suddenly loud bangs on his third-story door, he said, like someone trying to kick it in. "I jumped up and yelled, 'What the hell?' " said Sant, who has lived at the Park Place at City Centre Apartments, 731 S. 300 East in Salt Lake City, for about three years. The door quickly gave way, he said, and two men — dressed in all black, with hoods — rushed in. One was holding a two-foot metal pipe. A Marine veteran, Sant said he began scuffling with the men in the living room.
That's when Sant's son heard the commotion, emerged from a bedroom with a handgun — and started firing. Salt Lake City police officials later said one of the suspects died in the living room. The other, initially listed as critical but later upgraded to serious condition, apparently made it outside to the apartment building's lawn before collapsing. Several blood spatters remained in the hallway late Thursday morning as investigators finished up at the scene and a cleaning crew worked outside. The wooden door jamb was split into pieces, with footprints visible near the handle.
Salt Lake City police Sgt. Brandon Shearer said a 911 "shots fired" call came in at 3:13 a.m. The second suspect was in serious but stable condition late Thursday morning and is expected to survive, he said. Police initially thought there could be a third suspect at large, but later ruled that out. Sant said he and his two family members emerged unscathed. He said he didn't know the men, or why they picked his apartment to invade. Shearer said investigators had not yet determined if the suspects and the residents of the apartment knew each other, or what may have led up to the invasion.
Sant's apartment is in a three-story building, part of a larger complex of older apartment buildings at the corner of 700 South and 300 East. He and neighbors said police often respond to arguments and fights at the complex, but they couldn't recall something so violent. Sant said the two men picked the wrong place. "You got veterans living around in these apartments," he said. "You don't know who's got a gun."
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