Gunfire in Utah killed two teenage boys and critically injured another boy, the latter of whom has been identified as the 15-year-old son of former Minnesota Vikings running back Matt Asiata.
The shooting happened Thursday morning when two groups of teenagers got into an altercation that escalated into a shooting, according to the West Valley City Police Department. Ephraim Asiata, 15, was critically wounded in the shooting while two of his classmates, 14-year-old Tivani Lopati and 15-year-old Paul Tahi, were killed.
Ephraim Asiata remains in a critical condition following the shooting, according to the Granite School District, whose principal spoke with the Asiata family Thursday.
The full statement from the district reads:
"Principal Oaks recently spoke with the Asiata Family and they indicated that he remains in critical condition and the family would appreciate prayers in behalf of their son, nephew, and cousin.
"As a school and district community, we also ask that you keep the the families of Paul Tahi and Tivani Lopati, in your hearts, thoughts and prayers and that we work to support them in any way we can. There are many children and families who are struggling this evening as a result of this senseless tragedy. Crisis counselors will be available all-day Friday at both Hunter High and Hunter Junior High for ANY child who needs help and support."
Police took three 14-year-old boys and a 15-year-old boy into custody following the incident, with one of the boys who is believed to be the shooter booked into a juvenile detention center. The others were questioned and released, police said.
The three boys who were shot attend Hunter High School, the same school where Matt Asiata starred as a football player before attending the University of Utah.
Matt Asiata played five years for the Vikings, effectively working as a backup running back to Adrian Peterson from 2012-2016. He rushed for 1,259 yards and 18 touchdowns in his career, including 9 touchdowns in 2014.
Asiata suffered another tragedy in 2013, when his 53-year-old father was killed in a bus crash. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, his father was behind the wheel of a charter bus when he crashed and a "large auger" on the truck the bus struck went through the front of the bus and into the driver's seat, killing Pita Asiata instantly.