A 32-year-old man gunned down a woman he was in a relationship with and her 6-year-old son before fatally shooting himself in a broad daylight attack near a school in Sandy, Utah, police say.
Jeremy Patterson, of Draper, also wounded two other children Tuesday afternoon while firing into the SUV, according to police.
Memorez Clark Rackley, 39, of Sandy, and her 6-year-old boy, Jase Rackley, were killed in the shooting, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. Rackley’s 9-year-old son, Myles, remained hospitalized Wednesday in critical condition. Rackley was taking her sons home from school.
The other victim, an 8-year-old girl, is the daughter of a “good Samaritan,” who stopped to pick-up Rackley and her children and give them a ride. The woman who was driving the SUV was not wounded and her daughter is in stable condition, the Tribune reports. She and her daughter have not been publicly identified.
The “good Samaritan” told a neighbor she ran to for help after the shooting that Rackley and her sons had flagged her down for help.
“This woman who was walking her kids came running over to her and said this man is stalking us,” the woman told the neighbor, Kathy Peterson, KTVX-TV reports.
Rackley, a mother of three sons who was married to 40-year-old Dustin Rackley , had a “relationship” with Patterson, but “the extent of the relationship is still under investigation,” Sandy Police said Wednesday.
The Rackley family issued a statement through the Sandy Police expressing their grief.
“Our family is heartbroken by the events of yesterday. We are focusing on supporting our injured son in his recovery,” the Rackley family said in a statement. “We are grateful to the good Samaritan that stopped to help our family and our thoughts are also with their daughter who was injured. At this time we appreciate the prayers of so many. We ask that you respect our privacy as we mourn for our family.”
The family said Rackley enjoyed working out and watching her sons’ soccer games and the tragedy has left them reeling.
Of her relationship with her husband, a family spokesman said, “they both loved each other very much and they were husband and wife.”
The shooting happened about 3:45 p.m. on a residential street near a school on East Alta Canyon Drive, KSTU-TV reports.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. ‘He’s Killing Everyone & He’s Trying to Kill Us’
Memorez Rackley and her sons were walking down the road near Brookwood Elementary when the “good Samaritan” stopped her SUV to give them a ride just before the shooting, Sandy Police told the Deseret News.
It is not clear why Rackley stopped the woman for help, but she was not far from her house. Records show Rackley lives less than a mile away from the school, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Jase Rackley was a kindergartner at the school and Myles is in fifth grade. Police have not confirmed the witness’s report that Rackley flagged down the “good Samaritan” because she was being “stalked” by Jeremy Patterson.
About 3:45 p.m., Patterson rammed the SUV with his truck, got out and opened fire, police said. He shot about four or five times into the car. He then returned to his truck, where he fatally shot himself, according to police.
Kathy Peterson, who lives near the scene of the shooting, told the Associated Press she heard screaming and pounding at her front door and found a terrified woman and three young girls, one covered in blood. Peterson said she had heard gunshots nearby and helped them into safety. The woman was the “good Samaritan” whose car the victims were in.
“He’s killing everybody and he’s trying to kill us,” the woman told Peterson.
“They were just so scared,” Peterson told the Deseret News. “They wanted to be in the safest place, we went into my kitchen where there’s a high window. They didn’t want to be anywhere near windows. They really thought that man was going to come kill them all.”
Peterson said she and the mother learned the 8-year-old girl had been shot and EMTs arrived to take them to the hospital. Peterson told the Deseret News two other girls in the woman’s carpool stayed at her house for more than hour. She said she gave them teddy bears and prayed with them to try to calm their nerves.
A witness, Tracy Finau, told KUTV, the gunman “walked out of his car, went to his passenger side, pulled out a handgun and walked toward the [woman’s] car and shot the window out,” Finau said. She said he then walked around the SUV and shot into the back windows.
The shooting remains under investigation.
“It’s tragic in every aspect you could possibly look at,” Sergeant James Nielsen told reporters. “There’s nothing good that has come out or will come out of this case.
“We will go through everything and finalize every detail and get the families the answers as soon as we can, but we’re not going to make it fast. It’s going to take a little time because we need to make sure we get it right,” Nielsen said.
The shooting happened while students and staff were still at the elementary school. It was put into lockdown mode until police determined that the gunman, Patterson, was dead and there was no threat to the school.
“I heard the skid and the crash, then I heard gunshots like crazy,” Colby Corbett, who lives a few houses down from where the shooting took place, told KSTU-TV. “I thought it was like a gun fight.”
Andrea Workman told the news station, “My son was yelling into the phone, ‘Mom, there’s been a shooting! There’s been a shooting!'”
Wednesday was the last day of the school year for Brookwood Elementary School, and the district said grief counselors were there to help the students. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, a memorial was set up for the Rackley family outside the school, with flowers, stuffed animals and a sign in a fence reading “We (heart) you Myles.”
Myles Rackley remained hospitalized on Wednesday and was expected to undergo reconstructive surgery on his jaw, CBS News reports. He was supposed to participate in a 5th grade graduation ceremony on Wednesday.
The 8-year-old girl who survived the shooting was in stable condition. Her mother, the “good Samaritan” wasn’t harmed.
“Whether it’s going to be the witnesses who saw everything, whether it’s going to be the good Samaritan who was trying to help, or whether it’s the officers, first responders, firefighters that were on scene, this is something that’s going to stick with everybody for the rest of their life,” Nielsen told reporters.
2. Patterson, Who Went to the Same Gym as Rackley, Made Threatening Posts About Rackley on Instagram Before the Attack & She Reported Him to Police
Memorez Rackley filed a telephone harassment report against Jeremy Patterson Saturday morning, just days before she was killed, Sandy Police told the Associated Press.
Rackley called police Saturday and asked officers to tell Patterson to stop contacting her. An officer contacted Patterson, police said. A police spokesman did not expand on the conversation the officer had with Patterson, nor did he go into detail about the alleged harassment.
His first post included a meme featuring a character from the “Saw” horror films with the phrase, “Let the games begin.”
In the comments he wrote, “My ex thinks she can Control even when we aren’t together!!!! FUCK YOU!!! Let the games begin bitch!!”
In the second post, he shared a meme of a laughing child with the phrase, “I could tell you …. but it’s secret!”
He wrote in the comments, “How can someone love you so much and keep you such a secret. After 6 months, I never met her friends, family or kids!!! I don’t think anyone deserves to be kept a secret. I love Memorez Rackley and she’s never been a secret in my life!!”
The exact nature of the relationship between Patterson and Rackley was not immediately clear.
Patterson and Rackley went to the same gym, Pure Workout, in Murray, Utah, according to Facebook posts. Rackley posted a photo with a group in the gym in January. It is not clear if Rackley is also in the photo. The photo matches images of the gym on the Pure Workout Facebook page.
The gym was closed on Wednesday, according to KUTV.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Pure Fitness wrote, “Our PW family has lost a dear friend. Memz and her 5 year old son were heartlessly shot to death by someone she was close with. One of her other sons was shot but survived. Owners Aaron Dokos and Judah Dokos, their wives Mandie and Kira, Ed Platt the other trainer here, and everyone else here at Pure Workout are reaching out to all of you to help support the costs of their funerals and medical bills. Love to you all.”
Patterson was Facebook friends with Dokos and Platt.
3. He Was a Fitness Competitor & Worked at a Car Dealership
Jeremy Wayne Patterson was originally from West Jordan, Utah, and was living in Draper, according to his Facebook page.
His LinkedIn profile shows he worked as an estimator and body shop manager at a local Chevrolet dealer, Jerry Seiner Dealerships. He began working there in 2012.
Patterson’s employer told KUTV they were saddened by the incident and had grief counselors at the dealership on Wednesday.
4. His Sister Called Patterson a ‘Great Guy’ Who ‘Would Normally Not Do This’
Patterson’s sister, told KUTV, “He was a great guy. He would not normally do this.” According to reporter Brian Mullahy, he asked her if steroids might have been a factor in the incident, but she declined to answer.
A neighbor at Patterson’s townhouse told KUTV that Patterson was not “friendly” and “never made eye contact.”
Other details about Patterson’s background were not immediately available. It is not clear if he had a criminal record or how he obtained the gun used in the shooting.’
5. A GoFundMe Account Has Been Set Up for the Family of the Victims Who Lost Their ‘Sweet Mom’ & Youngest Son
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family of Memorez Clark Rackley and her son, Jace Rackley, who were killed in the shooting. You can make a donation here. More than $11,000 had been donated by Wednesday night.
“Today the Rackley family lost their sweet mom, Mem, and youngest son, Jase, in a shooting. Myles, Dustin and Mem’s middle son, was also shot but has survived. He was life flighted to a hospital where he had surgery due to the gun shot wounds,” Allie Lloyd Terry, the page’s creator, wrote. “As a community we are devastated by this terrible incidence. No one ever expects to have to bury their young mother and son. Please donate what you can to help cover the funeral costs for Mem and Jase as well as medical expenses for Myles. Dustin is self employed and Mem was unemployed so anything will help greatly. Thank you!!!”