Salt Lake Tribune
A man police say was killed by one of his intended victims during a break-in at a Midvale apartment was a 31-year-old with a criminal history including car thefts and drug and gun possession.
The letters SAC are tattooed on his face -- the same letters used by the white supremacist gang Soldiers of the Aryan Culture.
And court records show he was charged in a similar home invasion attack two years ago.
But as details about Blake Jay Anderson were emerging Wednesday, investigators said they still haven't found any connection between him and the family in the apartment ambushed by Anderson and as many as nine others.
"I don't think the intruders knew what was on the other side of the apartment door," said Midvale police Sgt. John Salazar. "Everything we've been looking at looks like it was a case of mistaken identity."
The four people who lived in the apartment did not recognize their attackers, who fled when one of the victims wrested a gun from an intruder and opened fire, killing Anderson.
"We haven't found a motive yet," Salazar said. "The only suspect we have is the one we can't interview."
Despite Anderson's tattoo, police are not investigating the invasion as a possible hate crime, Salazar said. The assailants likely did not know their victims, two of whom are white and two of whom are Latino, said Salazar.
The victims -- an uncle, his two nieces and the boyfriend of one niece -- have fled the state, Salazar said. Police do not know where the family is, but a relative has contacted investigators and is relaying messages to and from the victims until they recuperate.
"They're not going back to that place," Salazar said of the apartment. "They've been through a lot."
Police are pursuing no charges against the 23-year-old who shot Anderson, Salazar said.
Any involvement by Anderson in the Soldiers of the Aryan Culture is unclear. Metro Gang Unit investigator Jeremy Poor said he has had no contact with Anderson, and U.S. Marshall's spokesman Michael Wingert said he was not documented as an SAC member when he was in federal custody on a firearms conviction for 30 months from 2004 through 2006 and again in 2007 and 2008. Salazar said Anderson was also not previously known to Midvale police.
At the time of his death, Anderson was wanted on a $25,000 bench warrant for failing to appear at a Friday sentencing hearing in 3rd District Court.
Anderson had served a year at the Utah State Prison -- from June 2003 until June 2004 -- after failing to comply with court-ordered probation in a handful of Salt Lake County cases, which included drug possession and three stolen car cases.
He also spent more than four years in a federal prison -- beginning in July 2004 -- for being a convicted felon in possession of a pistol.
Anderson was also a suspect in another violent home-invasion attack in January 2007.
In January 2007, Anderson and Anthony James Bolton, 34, broke down the front door of a Salt Lake City apartment and started fighting with the occupants, a man and woman, according to charging documents. When the woman tried to call 911, Bolton came at her with a knife. When the male victim tried to intervene, Anderson hit him over the head with an amplifier, court documents state. When the man collapsed from the blow, the two invaders fled.
They were stopped by police in a vehicle that contained black ski masks, gloves, cutting tools and drops of blood, according to court documents.
Anderson and Bolton were charged with first-degree felony aggravated burglary, and Anderson also was charged with third-degree felony aggravated assault. The case was dismissed two months later when the victims failed to show up from a preliminary hearing.
In the Monday attack, as many as 10 people were waiting outside the apartment when a 26-year-old answered a knock on the door at about 1:30 a.m., said Salazar. Wielding guns and knives, they pushed their way into the apartment, fighting the man and stabbing him in the hand, Salazar said. The man fled the apartment, followed by several assailants.
Still inside were the man's two nieces, 14 and 22, and the 22-year-old's boyfriend. One of the intruders hit the older sister, angering her boyfriend, Salazar said.
The boyfriend, 23, fought with the man and took hold of his gun. He began shooting in the apartment, hitting another intruder. The heavily tattooed Anderson, carrying two knives and a gun, was shot three times, Salazar said. Anderson died in the apartment as the other attackers fled.