Teens charged as adults in fatal carjacking attempt police say was ‘random’

Oct 15, 2022, 10:47 AM | Updated: Nov 19, 2022, 12:26 am
(Salt Lake City Police Department)...
(Salt Lake City Police Department)
(Salt Lake City Police Department)

SALT LAKE CITY — Two teenagers with extensive juvenile criminal histories have been charged as adults in connection with a fatal shooting in Salt Lake City in September, which prosecutors say appears to have been done at random.

Christian Rodriguez, 16, of West Jordan, was charged Friday in 3rd District Court with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and two counts of discharge of a firearm causing serious injury, first-degree felonies; discharge of a firearm, a third-degree felony; and possession of a handgun by a minor, a class B misdemeanor.

Nestor Del Valle, 17, was charged with murder and aggravated robbery, first-degree felonies.

Just before 1 a.m. on Sept. 10, Salt Lake City police responded to a shooting at 500 S. Post Street (950 West). Officers found 17-year-old Bryan Galicia critically injured after being shot three times, including twice in the head, according to court records. He was taken to a local hospital where he later died from his injuries.

Galicia’s girlfriend, who was also in the car but not injured, told police they had been driving back to Galicia’s house after attending a party when they noticed a car following them, according to charging documents. Galicia pulled into his driveway and the car following drove past. But moments later, the car turned around and parked right behind him, the charges state.

16-year-old arrested in connection to fatal SLC shooting

“A passenger of the vehicle, later identified as defendant Christian Rodriguez, and who was wearing a blue bandana over his face, approached the driver’s side door of Galicia’s vehicle and yelled something. Rodriguez then fired shots through the driver’s side window, hitting Galicia,” according to the charges. “Four 9mm mixed shell casings were recovered from the scene.”

Detectives collected several pieces of information, during which they learned that Rodriguez and Del Valle had made plans to carjack a vehicle involved in a fender-bender accident, according to the charges.

The two boys had been following the car they thought was involved, then lost sight of it, but later spotted Galicia’s vehicle, the charges state.

“The car pulled into a driveway and Rodriguez and Del Valle realized it wasn’t the (car they were looking for), but wanted it anyway,” according to the charges.

Prosecutors are now asking that the boys be held without bail pending trial, noting the particularly senseless nature of the crime.

“The victim appears to have been a random stranger driving a car that was targeted for carjacking. This senseless, random, and extreme violence is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant would constitute a substantial danger to the entire community if released on bail,” court documents for Rodriguez’s case state.

Prosecutors say Rodriguez has an extensive criminal history in juvenile court.

“Prior to the current charges, (he) has been held in detention three times. He has been placed on home detention. (He) had also been placed in Juvenile Justice Youth Services custody for community-based placement,” court documents state.

At the time of the shooting, Rodriguez was awaiting trial for another case, in which he was charged in juvenile court, involving an alleged assault on a police officer, fleeing from police, hit-and-run and possession of a handgun by a minor, according to court records.

“(He) has consistently re-offended, including on pretrial. (Rodriguez) has already shown that he has no intent to be law-abiding or to comply with court-imposed conditions.”

Del Valle was also supposed to be on home detention at the time of the shooting and wear a GPS ankle monitor as he waited for trial on charges of four counts of aggravated robbery, court records state. He was not wearing his ankle monitor at the time of the shooting.

“In less than seven months, (Del Valle) has been charged with two separate episodes of aggravated robbery. The current charges now include an alarming escalation to murder,” prosecutors wrote in charging documents while also requesting he be held without bail.

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Teens charged as adults in fatal carjacking attempt police say was ‘random’