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Bluffdale neighborhood watchdogs clash; 1 shot
Victim suffers severe spinal cord injury and 'will likely be paralyzed for the remainder of his life.'

By Erin Alberty And Melinda Rogers

The Salt Lake Tribune

Published July 22, 2009 8:35 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
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Neighbors of Reginald Campos and David Serbeck describe the men in nearly identical terms.

"He's our watchdog," KanaMarie Poulson said of Campos, her next-door neighbor.

"He's our eyes," Yvette Mignerey Atkin said of Serbeck, who lives on her street.

Now the residents of Parry Farms subdivision in Bluffdale are left to wonder how a dispute between two men known as neighborhood protectors could end with one paralyzed and the other in jail.

Campos, 43, was arrested Wednesday morning on suspicion of attempted murder in the shooting of Serbeck, 36. Serbeck remained in Intermountain Medical Center's highest trauma unit with severe spinal injuries.

Investigators say Campos confronted Serbeck about midnight on a street in the affluent subdivision because he believed Serbeck had been harassing his teenage daughter.

Serbeck had organized a watch group in response to several recent car burglaries in the neighborhood, said Salt Lake County sheriff's Lt. Don Hutson. Serbeck and the president of the neighborhood homeowners association were patrolling in an SUV near 1570 West and Iron Horse Boulevard (15375 South) late Tuesday when they saw two girls walking, Hutson said.

The pair stopped the girls and asked what they were doing in the neighborhood, Hutson said. The two girls kept walking to the home of one of the girls, where they got into a vehicle and drove to another girl's house to pick up two more friends.

As the four girls drove around, they spotted Serbeck's SUV and were afraid he was following them, Hutson said. Serbeck recognized the girls and did a U-turn to follow them, Hutson said.

The girls drove erratically through the neighborhood to try to evade Serbeck, and Campos' daughter called her father and said the men had been hassling them, Hutson said.

Campos drove around the neighborhood in his SUV until he found the girls. He escorted them back to his house, where they planned to have a sleepover. He then drove back into the neighborhood in his SUV with his daughter to find the vehicle Serbeck was driving, Hutson said.

"The father becomes concerned and goes with [his daughter] and looks for the men. He wants to find out what the men are doing harassing his daughter and her friends," Hutson said.

Campos' and Serbeck's vehicles passed each other on the street, and Campos' daughter identified Serbeck as the man who had been hassling her, Hutson said. Campos turned his vehicle around and stopped it near Serbeck's vehicle, forcing Serbeck to stop, Hutson said.

Campos then had "some sort of exchange" with Serbeck and the homeowner's association president, Hutson said. Campos and Serbeck left their vehicles and stood in the road, he said.

Campos and Serbeck both displayed handguns, Hutson said. Campos fired at least three rounds before Serbeck could react, Hutson said. Serbeck was struck once in the shoulder; the bullet caused a severe spinal cord injury, Hutson said.

A jail booking statement states that Serbeck "will likely be paralyzed for the remainder of his life" as a result of the gunshot wound.

Police arrived at the scene shortly after midnight after Campos called 911 to report he shot a man. Campos waited at the scene until authorities arrived, Hutson said.

The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office will screen charges for Campos today, Hutson said. Campos does not have a concealed-weapons permit, but Utah law allows for a firearm to be kept in a vehicle. Whether Campos was legally using the gun to defend himself once he stepped outside the vehicle is the primary question, Hutson said.

Serbeck holds a concealed-weapons permit.

Campos, who himself was a victim in the recent spate of burglaries, apparently was not aware of Serbeck's neighborhood watch initiative, Hutson said.

"Nobody knew about the neighborhood watch," said Poulson, Campos' neighbor in the northeastern segment of the subdivision.

Parry Farms is divided geographically by a slope and a stretch of empty land. Residents in the southwestern portion -- where Serbeck lives -- said they did not receive official notice of a watch group, either.

But they said that Serbeck, a stay-at-home dad who retired in recent years from a military career, was the consummate neighborhood guardian, alerting residents to the recent burglaries and offering help often.

"He's incredible," Mignerey Atkin said. "He's my protection."

Neighbor Kelsie McKay said Serbeck shoveled her driveway when she was nine months pregnant in December and often attends municipal meetings on the subdivision's behalf.

"He fought for us," McKay said.

Cindy Staley said Serbeck is "the first one there" when newcomers move to the area, making introductions and offering help.

"I love having him in our neighborhood," Staley said.

Across the small valley, Poulson said Campos fills a similar role in the northeast neighborhood. When several residents' mailboxes were pilfered in a recent spree of identity thefts and mail fraud, it was Campos who printed and delivered notices to alert the households in his area of the subdivision, Poulson said.

"Reginald is a great guy and a great neighbor," said Poulson.

After Campos' car was broken into and other burglaries were reported, Poulson said, "We were all more vigilant."

Poulson does not know Serbeck, but she said, "My heart goes out to both sides.

"I think they just wanted to protect their families."



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