Police arrest California man suspected of road rage homicide near Snowville

Jonathan Llana, the suspected shooter who killed the driver of a Range Rover west of Tremonton, Wednesday night, May 22, 2019. Llana is described as being 5'10", 150 lbs, with black hair and brown eyes (Courtesy: Idaho State Police).

BRIGHAM CITY — Police have captured the 45-year-old California man, suspected of shooting and killing Dennis Gwyther, along Interstate-84, southeast of Snowville. Jonathan Llana was taken into custody at 3:15 p.m. Friday.

A press release from the Idaho State Police said Llana was found hiding near where he had crashed his car into a canal, east of Burley, Idaho. He was arrested without incident.

Llana, who has been charged with murder and attempted murder in connection with the shooting, will be held in Idaho on additional charges. He will then be extradited back to the Box Elder County Jail where he will be arraigned in 1st District Court in Brigham City.

Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Lee Perry said based on the evidence and witness statements so far, troopers believe the shooting was motivated by road rage.

“Of course the investigation is far from complete, [troopers] will continue to look at other things and continue to investigate all those aspects,” explained Perry. “From everything we are gathering, any other witnesses in the area, we are not seeing any signs [of premeditation]. We got no phone calls of anything happening prior to the shooting itself. It is highly unlikely that there was a long drawn out road rage incident that resulted in this. It looks like it was fairly random and happened fairly quickly.

Wednesday night, Box Elder Dispatch operators received a 911 call from a passenger in a Range Rover who reported the driver had been shot while traveling westbound on I-84, near mile post 21. The passenger described the suspect vehicle as a silver Volkswagen Jetta with out-of-state plates.

Suspect vehicle in canal, east of Burley, Idaho. Police report the suspect driver, Jonathan Llana, fled on foot. Wednesday night, May 22, 2019. Llana is described as being 5’10”, 150 lbs, with black hair and brown eyes (Courtesy: Idaho State Police).

Paramedics were sent to the scene to treat the two victims. A passing EMT stopped and was able to determine that Gwyther, the driver of the Range Rover, was deceased.

As troopers and deputies started investigating the shooting, Idaho State Police attempted to stop a silver Jetta that fit the suspect’s description. The vehicle fled and eventually crashed in a canal in Cassia County, near the vicinity of Raft River / Yale Road intersection with I-86.

Perry said the passenger inside the Range Rover also had non-life threatening injuries. He was transported to Bear River Valley Hospital and later released.

“He is working with victim advocates right now, to try and help him get through a serious trauma in his life, so we have got folks working with him right now. And I can’t say enough good about our victim advocates through our our state, to help these victims that have been involved in these horrible situations.”

Idaho State Police credit Llana’s arrest to the joint task force between the Utah Highway Patrol, Cassia County Sheriff’s Office, Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office, Power County Sheriff’s Office, and Idaho Fish and Game.


will@cvradio.com

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