BREAKING NEWS

Police Believe 2 Teenagers Shot By Accident In Connection To Alleged Human Smuggling Operation

arizona shooting
Source: Casa Grande Police Department; UNSPLASH

May 21 2022, Published 8:48 a.m. ET

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A suspect was apprehended in Texas in connection to the fatal shooting of two women who detectives believe were gunned down by mistake in Arizona, authorities said.

On April 24, Leslie Cota, 18, and 17-year-old Danielle Murrieta were with friends getting into a vehicle outside an apartment complex in Casa Grande when Terrance Santistevan, 18, allegedly drove up to the group and opened fire, AZ Family reported, citing court documents.

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According to the documents, Santistevan shot at least two dozen rounds at the group, fatally striking Cota and wounding Murrieta, who died at an area hospital.

Police believe Santistevan didn’t intend to allegedly shoot and kill the two teenagers, but instead was targeting one of the victim’s boyfriends.

Detectives investigating the shooting learned from the man that he and Santistevan, who fled to Texas, first met in October 2021 and the man agreed to pay him $2,000 to smuggle migrants into the United States from Mexico.

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The man told police he paid Santistevan half but still owed him another $1,000, court documents show.

The two men allegedly were texting and calling each other shortly before the shooting, phone records show, according to police.

Acting on a tip, the U.S. Marshals Service took Santistevan into custody in Pflugerville, Texas, on April 30 and he was extradited to Arizona, where he was booked into the Pinal County jail.

Santistevan denied the allegations against him, but police claimed in court documents that the suspect allegedly admitted the shooting victim’s boyfriend owed him $14,000 in connection to the smuggling operation.

Santistevan was being held on a $750,000 bond and faces two counts of first-degree murder, according to AZ Family.

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