7-year-old girl shot and killed while sleeping in her room, 3 suspects arrested

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Source: Wasatch County Sheriff

Jul. 12 2021, Published 8:07 p.m. ET

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A 7-year-old girl was shot dead in her apartment bedroom last week in Heber City, Utah. Three men have now been arrested in connection with her death.

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On July 11, Wasatch County Sheriff’s deputies announced the arrest of Trever Joe Pinter, 21, Colin David Howells, 36, and Christopher Robert O’Connell, 34, KSL TV reported.

Potential charges indicate O’Connell is being viewed as the prime suspect in the death of Zaydanielys Rodriguez. He has been booked into jail for suspicion of manslaughter and multiple other drug and weapons-related offenses, according to KSL TV.

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Deputies suspect O’Connell discharged the gun in Howells’ bedroom, where they found a bullet hole that went through a wall and into Zaydanielys’ room, according to KSL TV.

“I heard (from deputies) that it was my neighbor,” Zaydanielys’ father, Daniel Rodriguez, told KSL TV. “I heard that he was drunk or something and had controlled substances and a bullet was fired. It went from his room into mine. That’s what (deputies told me) happened.

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Deputies reported they heard a gunshot from a neighboring apartment upon their arrival, KSL TV reported.

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Deputies found and arrested three intoxicated people — identified as Pinter, Howells and O’Connell — according to arresting documents.

Police say O’Connell and Howells admitted to mixing alcohol and prescription medication before the shooting, according to KSL TV. Arresting documents say the two of them went to Pinter’s neighboring apartment.

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During their visit, Pinter’s girlfriend and her friend allege an “incredibly intoxicated” O’Connell pulled out and waved a firearm, according to KSL TV.

The two women also told deputies that O’Connell and Howells sexually assaulted them.

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Deputies believe O’Connell and Howells left Pinter’s apartment.

However, Pinter said they never left and that he did not see them in possession of a firearm. He retracted both statements after detectives confronted him with the women’s testimonies, according to KSL TV.

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Arresting documents indicate, “They located a bullet hole that had gone through the wall and bedroom of Colin… continued north through the residence and into the next apartment complex and into the child.”

Police suspect the shot was fired by O’Connell, as a witness saw him holding a gun after the shooting and deputies “observed what appeared to be a firearm near his belt line and protruding from his t-shirt,” KSL TV reported.

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A witness, identified as Danny Rodriguez’s roommate, allegedly told detectives that two men fitting the descriptions of Howells and O’Connell were looking into the apartment shortly after Zaydanielys was rushed to the hospital.

“They began to ask the witness about who the kids belong to and who he was. He stated the tall skinny one with blue eyes had his foot placed in the doorway so the door could not close. He also stated he observed the other male holding a firearm in his hand as they spoke,” the arresting documents said.


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