Man connected to July shooting at LDS church parking lot sentenced to 120 days in jail

Composite image with background photo of 5th District Court in St. George, Utah, August 2019. Inset photo of Dillynn Pruett, 19, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Aug. 11, 2019 | Background photo by Cody Blowers; booking photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff's Office, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A man wanted in connection with a shooting that took place in the parking lot of an LDS chapel in April was sentenced to 120 days in jail and three years probation after pleading guilty to two counts of aggravated assault.

Dillynn Pruett, 19, was sentenced Nov. 7 in 5th District Court on two third-degree felony counts of aggravated assault, to which he pleaded guilty Sept. 24.

District Judge Jeffrey C. Wilcox had previously ordered an investigation be conducted examining Pruett’s background, any criminal history and his chances of reoffending, a report that was subsequently used during sentencing.

The case stems from an incident reported July 23, when officers were dispatched to the parking lot of the South River Road church on a call of shots fired shortly before 11:30 p.m. in which five individuals reported they were shot at, according to the probable cause statement filed in support of Pruett’s arrest.

Earlier that day, one of the witnesses had reportedly received a message through social media that they suspected was from an individual with whom they had just broken up. They believed the person was using an alias under the guise they were selling drugs. Playing along, the report said, a meeting was set up at the church parking lot and the individual arrived in a vehicle along with four other occupants. As they pulled in, they noticed a vehicle parked toward the rear of the parking lot.

Dillynn Louis Pruett, 18, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Aug. 11, 2019 | File photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

As the group pulled up, the other vehicle drove away. As it passed by the other car, the passenger in the front seat of the suspect’s vehicle fired at least four shots at the group before exiting onto River Road and heading south. One of the bullets hit the windshield and shattered it, while a second possibly struck the front grill that had appeared damaged.

Through the course of the two-week investigation, officers collected video surveillance footage from a gas station on River Road where the suspect’s vehicle could be seen traveling south around the time of the shooting.

Officers had received a tip claiming Pruett was the shooter sitting in the passenger’s seat of the car.  Pruett was arrested Aug. 11 at the Washington County Fair by two St. George Police bike patrol officers. The suspect later denied the allegation he was the shooter during an interview with detectives at the jail.

During the sentencing hearing, Judge Wilcox ordered the defendant to serve 120 days in jail with credit for time served.

The prison sentence of up to five years on each count was suspended. Instead,  Pruett was placed on 36 months probation with Adult Probation and Parole and ordered to pay a $1,600 fine, or complete 100 hours of community service in lieu of the fine.

He was also ordered to complete a mental health and substance abuse evaluation and follow any recommended treatment or counseling. He was also ordered to earn his GED or high school diploma.

During September’s review hearing when the defendant entered his pleas, two third-degree felony charges were dismissed, including one count each of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a restricted person. Pruett remains in custody serving out his sentence as this report publishes.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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