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A 20-year-old U.S. Marine was arrested Tuesday morning by the U.S. Marshals Service in Arizona and charged with murder in connection to the New Years Day shooting death of a 20-year-old University of North Texas student during a traffic incident, accordi

A U.S. Marine has been arrested in connection with the death of a 20-year-old University of North Texas student, NBCDFW reports.

Cpl. Eric Johnson, 20, who goes by the street name “Santana Sage,” was arrested on Tuesday at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona by U.S. Marshals. Police officers from Denton, Texas began their hunt for Johnson after the fatal shooting of Sara Mutschlechner, which occurred in the city on New Year’s Day.

According to an arrest affidavit from Denton County Police, Mutschlechner was leaving a party with friends around 2 a.m. when Johnson and his friends allegedly pulled up to their car. Mutschlechner’s friends told police Johnson (who was in the driver’s seat) and the other four men in the car made sexually explicit comments to the women. Mutschlechner was the designated driver.

Her friends claim Johnson then pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot them. After the light turned green, two shots were fired into the college student’s car, one hitting her in the head. Her car then crashed into another vehicle, coming to a stop at an electrical pole.

NBCDFW reports:

“It was stated that the shots came from the driver’s seat, as [a witness] stated he could see the muzzle flash and the muzzle/barrel of the weapon, which was described as a black semi-auto handgun,” reads Johnson’s arrest affidavit.

Mutschlechner, who was left in a vegetative state, was taken off life support the same day.

A spokesperson for the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command in California confirmed Johnson enrolled in the Marines in August 2013. He worked as an administrative specialist in the Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Sqaudron-1. According to the arrest affidavit, Johnson was associated with an address in Fort Worth, the site reports.

Police told reporters Mutschlechner’s friends recognized Johnson and his friends at the party they previously attended. Investigators used social media to track down their identities. Photos of the car and the men wearing the same clothes the witnesses described were seen in videos and photos from the suspects’ Instagram pages.

Texas police are awaiting Johnson’s arrival to determine the charges. It’s unknown whether the other passengers will be charged.

UNT paid tribute to Mutschlechner this week. The Zeta Tau Alpha member was a film major and described as a very career driven student.

Those who worked with Johnson were shocked to hear about his connection to the shooting.



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