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

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

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

Salt Lake County jail records show Mayor-Zaragoza was held on Thursday afternoon on suspicion of aggravated assault and discharging a firearm in the direction of a vehicle.

The police said on Wednesday, the 9-year-old boy sat with a number of other children in the back seat of a parked SUV in the city of Kearns, about 15 km from Salt Lake City, when a 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 the doctors don’t 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 Mayor-Zaragoza faces aggravated burglary, theft 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.

Mayor-Zaragoza, was scheduled to appear at a hearing with respect to the in September, with Thursday morning, but it was not clear if he made the design for his arrest Thursday.

His lawyer in that case, James Retallick, and the prosecutor Brody Flint does not return messages.

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