Woman and Child Shot To Death, Several Others Injured
In a middle class suburb outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, Kathy Peterson heard frantic screams and pounding at her front door. She opened it to an injured woman and three young girls, and immediately brought the group inside her home. Saying a prayer, she gave the girls teddy bears and called for emergency assistance.
“He’s killing everybody and he’s trying to kill us,” the woman teary-eyed shouted. Paramedics arrived at the scene moments later.
Outside, Jeremy Patterson had shot and killed Memorez Rackley and her six-year-old son and critically injured her 9-year-old son. The shooting occurred three days after Rackley called in a harassment claim to police, asking them to tell Patterson to stop contacting her. Apparently, he wasn’t ready to do that.
On the day of the incident, Rackley had picked up her boys from school and was walking six blocks from the pick up site when she flagged down a driver. The driver was the woman who had pounded on Peterson’s door. She remains unidentified.
The woman obliged, and picked up the trio. But, they didn’t make it far. Her vehicle was immediately rammed from behind by a pickup truck Patterson was driving. He got out of the truck and opened fire on the bunch. The driver’s daughter was also injured in the confrontation. She was shot in the leg, but was taken to the hospital in stable condition. After the shooting, Patterson turned the gun on himself, ending his own life.
Police are still investigating why Rackley waved down the woman and what her connection was with the family. The woman has indicated her daughter went to school with the two boys, so the three children knew each other.
The extent of the relationship between Rackley and Patterson also remains unclear, but police are trying to get the full picture from interviews with mutual acquaintances. Patterson lived in the suburb of Draper. He has been described as a muscular, body builder type and potentially practiced martial arts. He did not have a criminal record, and no prior protective order requests were filed against the man.
Rackley was married to another man at the time of her death. The two had been separated for a period of time, but a family spokesperson, Jeff White, said the married couple “both loved each other very much.” Her husband is doing well, but understandably, grieving the loss of his wife and youngest child. White said, “She was an amazing mother. She’s beloved by all of her friends and family…just totally adored by the whole community. He also indicated he’s unsure of the extent of her association with Patterson.
The injured boy missed his 5th grade elementary school graduation this past Wednesday, and he was offered a standing ovation by the crowd. Counselors were available on site to offer students and parents help with grieving the loss of the student and his mother, and police officers were stationed around the school. Toni Linsenmeyer, whose daughter was a classmate of the deceased boy and played soccer on the same co-ed team, said the team was coached by Rackley’s husband. Both parents attended all of the games, even when separated. “It breaks my heart,” she said.