Police Investigating Shooting Death Of 7-Year-Old Heber City Girl
HEBER CITY, Utah — A 7-year-old girl has died after getting hit by a bullet that went through an apartment wall in Heber City.
The little girl’s dad didn’t realize the bleeding was from a gunshot wound until after he got to the hospital. He said he put his children to bed Friday night, expecting they’d be okay, until he got a terrifying call.
“I liked it so much — good job opportunities, schools for my kids. I wanted them to learn English,” Danny Rodriguez said of Utah.
Rodriguez and his family moved from Puerto Rico to Heber City just 11 months ago.
“I thought, ‘Wow, it’s the perfect place to stay a year or two,'” he said.
Rodriguez said his three kids thrived, especially his oldest — 7-year-old Zaydanielys Rodriguez Irizarry. She loved dancing, school and softball.
“She was the best one on the team and she’d try so hard,” he said.
But the last 24 hours have turned into a nightmare.
“Sometimes, I think this can’t be happening, it’s a dream or something,” said Rodriguez.
Around 10:30 p.m. Friday, Rodriguez said his 6-year-old son called him over video chat, asking for help. The boy described waking up to a loud sound and his sister 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.”
Zaydanielys dad tells me he moved his family to Utah 11 months ago. There is a go-fund-me to take the 7yo girl back home to Puerto Rico. https://t.co/8YvOgCNIAR @KSL5TV pic.twitter.com/ITJAPayEX5
— Garna Mejia KSL (@GarnaMejiaKSL) July 11, 2021
Rodriguez and his girlfriend work nights. The children were already in bed and their babysitter was in another room.
He initially thought his daughter got hurt falling off the bed, but she was unresponsive when he got home shortly after.
“But she was moving her stomach as though she was breathing, so I took off to the hospital,” said Rodriguez.
Deputies said the frantic father called 911 on his way to the hospital, but his little girl did not survive.
“They did everything they could, but they told me where the bullet hit her, there was nothing they could do,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez suspects a stray bullet was fired through a wall into his daughter’s bedroom by a drunk neighbor.
Wasatch County Sheriff’s deputies heard a gunshot shortly after responding to the Wasatch Commons Apartments in Heber City. Officials said the shot came from inside or close to a nearby apartment.
Deputies then arrested three intoxicated people. A search warrant of a neighboring unit was pending Saturday afternoon, but Danny said he’s not worried about that now.
“God will take care of that,” he said.
He’s focused on remembering his little girl.
“It’s the only thing that runs through my mind — her last days, maybe I could’ve given more,” he said.
According to arresting documents, 34-year-old Christopher O’Connell, who was identified as the suspected shooter, was booked on one one count of manslaughter, as well as possession of drugs and a weapon by a restricted person.
Another man, 36-year-old Colin David Howells was booked on charges of several battery and intoxication.
The third suspect, identified as 21-year-old Trever Joe Pinter, faces one count of obstruction of justice.
The incident remains under investigation.
A *GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family transport her body back home to Puerto Rico.
*KSL-TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.
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