3 men arrested in fatal shooting of 7 year old Utah girl, after stray bullet enters bedroom wall and strikes her from neighboring apartment while she slept.
They had arrived from Peurto Rico looking to live the American dream …
The incident followed one of the three men firing off a gunshot that traveled to a neighboring unit at an apartment complex in Heber City according to investigators.
Trever Joe Pinter, 21, Colin David Howells, 36 and Christopher Robert O’Connell, 34, were taken into custody, following the death of Zaydanielys Rodriguez Irizarry on Sunday.
Investigators said the accidental shooting death resulted from an alcohol-fueled gathering at the home of Zaydanielys’ neighbor, Trevor Pinter. Investigators believed O’Connell drunkenly fired the shot that killed the 7-year-old girl, the Deseret News reported.
Two women were also present at Pinter’s home on Friday night, but neither have been charged. Both woman claimed both Howells and O’Connell sexually assaulting them.
‘The women … stated they observed Christopher [O’Connell] pull a firearm out and wave it around while intoxicated, they asked him to put it away,’ stated an affidavit obtained by Deseret News.
Zaydanielys’ father Daniel Rodriguez told KSL that his 6-year-old son called him on video chat while Rodriguez was at work Friday night. The boy said he heard a loud noise and said his sister was crying.
‘She was asking for help, she was coughing blood on the floor,’ said Rodriguez. ‘I told my boss I needed to leave because my daughter was bleeding from her mouth. That’s all I knew.’
Family had moved from Puerto Rico to start a new life
Rodriguez rushed home and took his daughter to the hospital himself, calling 911 on the way. He told KSL that he did not realize until after he arrived at the hospital that Zaydanielys had been shot. The father said he initially believed his daughter may have fallen.
‘(Doctors) did everything they could, but they told me where the bullet hit her, there was nothing they could do,’ the father said.
‘She wasn’t like any other 7-year-old,’ Rodriguez, told Fox 13. ‘My little girl was polite, intelligent and well-behaved.’
After the shooting, officers arrived at the Wasatch Commons Apartments, heard a gunshot coming from a nearby unit and arrested the three men.
Rodriguez said he had moved to Utah from Puerto Rico with his family less than a year ago, excited about the opportunity.
‘I liked it so much — good job opportunities, schools for my kids. I wanted them to learn English,’ Rodriguez said.
O’Connell faces numerous charges, including felony murder; illegal discharge of a firearm; possession of a firearm by a restricted person and drug distribution; and sexual battery.
Charges against Howells include sexual battery and obstructing justice. Pinter has reportedly been charged with obstructing justice. According to KSL, both Pinter and Howells have been released on bail but O’Connell remains in custody.
Zaydanielys’ father has organized a GoFundMe campaign with the aim of laying her to rest in Puerto Rico. Come Tuesday night, $51,475 USD of a $10,000 goal had been raised.