Police make arrest in Utah drive-by shooting of 9-year-old

AP News
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Posted: Dec 29, 2016 7:09 PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah police on Thursday arrested a 19-year-old man in connection with the drive-by shooting of a 9-year-old boy, which left the youth in critical condition.

A tweet Thursday from the Unified Police official Twitter account announced the arrest of Oscar Bermejo-Zaragoza. Police did not offer further details or return a message seeking more information.

Salt Lake County jail records show Bermejo-Zaragoza was being held Thursday afternoon on suspicion of aggravated assault and discharging a firearm toward a vehicle.

Police say on Wednesday, the 9-year-old boy was sitting with several other children in the backseat of a parked SUV in the town of Kearns, about 15 miles from Salt Lake City, when one shot was fired from a passing car occupied by two men.

The bullet went through the SUV's windshield and hit the boy in the head.

He underwent emergency surgery Wednesday night and remained in critical condition Thursday, police said. Unified Police Detective Ken Hansen said Thursday that doctors may not know until the weekend whether the boy will recover.

No other children were injured.

Hansen said police believe the shooting was gang-related and someone else was the target.

The car that the two men were seen in was later found in Salt Lake City.

Court records show Bermejo-Zaragoza faces aggravated burglary, robbery and assault charges from a September home invasion in Ogden. He has not yet entered a plea in that case. He was not in custody for that case because he had posted a $50,000 bond.

Bermejo-Zaragoza was scheduled to appear at a hearing regarding the September charges Thursday morning, but it wasn't clear if he made the appearance before his arrest Thursday.

His attorney in that case, James Retallick, and prosecuting attorney Brody Flint did not return messages.