‘This Needs to Stop’: Husband, Stepfather of Murder Victims Speaks

Salomon Diaz

Salomon Diaz

Published July 10, 2016

HOLBROOK, ARIZONA – When a shooter raised his weapon the afternoon of June 28 and squeezed the trigger, he tore two holes in Brian Davenport’s life.

Moments earlier, a superior court judge had granted Davenport’s stepdaughter, Ashley Utley, visiting rights to her two young sons. In a state of joyous celebration, Utley and her family turned their thoughts to the future.

Just outside the Navajo County Superior Courthouse, however, Utley, of Gallup, N.M., and two other women were gunned down. Utley, 25, and the boys’ maternal grandmother, 45-year-old Sherry Quintero-Davenport, each were shot multiple times and killed. Sixty-eight-year-old Angela Chambers, an aunt to the boys, was wounded in the leg. She was treated at the hospital and discharged.

In a matter of seconds, Davenport lost his wife and stepdaughter in a custody battle that had promised to bring the family closer. In a single afternoon, Davenport’s entire world was turned upside-down.

“Things are pretty rough right now,” Davenport said during a phone interview. “The whole family is together, hanging on together. We haven’t been alone since this happened.”

Police arrested Salomon Diaz, the boys’ paternal grandfather, who had custody of the children. Diaz, 47, is being charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Diaz had his initial court appearance June 29 and bond was set at $2 million. He appeared before a grand jury Tuesday and was arraigned Wednesday, said Adam Wolfe, a Navajo County spokesman. The Navajo County Homicide Task Force continues to investigate.

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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