Man tells police Valley View shooting incident in St. George was ‘drug deal gone bad’

2019 file photo of St. George Police responding to a shooting incident on 1000 West that was allegedly a 'drug deal gone bad," according police, St. George, Utah, April 10 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The investigation into the shooting incident on 1000 West in St. George Thursday evening resulted in the arrest of a 23-year-old man who told police the situation “was the result of a drug deal gone bad.”

St. George Police and SWAT respond to an incident at Valley View Drive and North 1000 West, St. George, Utah, April 9, 2020 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

St. George Police officers and SWAT responded to reports of multiple gunshots heard in the area of Valley View Drive and 1000 West Thursday just before 7 p.m. Once they arrived, police officers found several spent 9mm shell casings on the roadway in front the home where the incident had been reported, according to a probable-case statement.

The incident led to that segment of street being blocked off by police and SWAT being sent in to sweep and secure the residence. The home was successfully cleared and no injuries were reported as a result of the action.

Officers gained written and verbal consent to search the residence and discovered a firearm and suspected narcotics and paraphernalia in the garage.

“Detectives with the St. George Police Department investigations unit located two baggies containing a large quantity of a brown rock like substance, a Ruger 9mm handgun and ammunition, and numerous items of suspected drug paraphernalia to include pipes, bong and aluminum foil with burnt residue,” according to the probable-cause statement.

The Washington County Drug Task Force was called in and tested the two baggies with presumptive positive results that allege it to be heroin.

Richard Dimitri Barraza, of St. George, Utah, booking photo | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

As the investigation continued, police contacted Richard Dimitri Barraza for questioning. Barraza, whose address is listed at the residence where the incident occurred, agreed to speak with police after being told his rights.

“During questioning post Miranda, Richard admitted that the heroin and the handgun located in the garage belonged to him,” the probable cause statement reports.

Barraza told police he had bought 10 ounces of heroin in Las Vegas for $9,500 and had around 160 grams left. He also said he bought the gun in Utah in the last 30 days for protection. However, due to being felon on federal probation, Barraza also told detectives he knew he wasn’t supposed to have a firearm.

“Richard admitted that the shooting that had occurred in front of the residence was the result of a drug deal gone bad,” according to the probable cause statement.

Barraza was arrested and taken to the Purgatory Correctional Facility without incident. He has had been changed with felony and misdemeanor offenses related to drug possession and possessing a dangerous weapon as a restricted individual.

Below is additional video of the police action Thursday night filmed by St. George News reporter Chris Reed. 


Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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