- Associated Press - Friday, June 3, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A man suspected of killing a Utah woman while her young children were at home is in custody at a hospital after he was shot by police investigating her brutal death, authorities said Friday.

Jason Alan Black, 26, was shot after he pulled a gun on officers serving a search warrant at his family’s home in South Jordan, said Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder. He was hit several times and hospitalized with critical injuries, though he later improved to serious condition.

Black is being held on suspicion of murder in the death of 24-year-old Natalia Casagrande.

Her body was found in the basement of her Magna home Tuesday by her husband, who got worried when she suddenly stopped returning his text messages and left work.

Police say the couple knows Black and he had planned to meet Casagrande at the house, but something went wrong after he arrived.

The woman’s two daughters, ages 5 years and 18 months, were at home when she was killed, said Lt. Lex Bell of Salt Lake County’s Unified Police Department.

Investigators have declined to say whether the girls saw anything, though they say they’re safe now.

“What they’ve gone through has been horrid, and we’re trying to keep the kids out of this as much as possible,” Winder said. He declined to say how Casagrande was killed, but called the death “very brutal.”

A woman suspected of being his getaway driver, Estephania Sanchez-Mendoza, 24, was also arrested on suspicion of aggravated robbery and obstruction of justice.

Police say the pair took some things from the house, though they would not name the stolen items.

No attorney was listed for Mendoza or Black in court records. A message left at a publicly listed number for Black’s family wasn’t immediately returned, and no number was available for Mendoza in public records.

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