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DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Police have arrested one person they say is involved in the shooting and killing of University of North Texas student Sara Mutschlechner on New Year’s Day.
Denton Police Department investigators first obtained a warrant for Eric Jamal Johnson. He was located in Yuma, Arizona and arrested after the warrant was served by the U.S. Marshals Service Tuesday morning. Johnson is was arrested on a Murder warrant.
There have been reports that the 20-year-old Johnson is a member of a branch of the U.S. Military. At an afternoon press conference Denton police Officer Shane Kizer confirmed that Johnson has some ties to a military branch. “It’s my understanding that in conjunction with military service personnel at a base there [Arizona] that he was taken into custody. What base that is we’re not aware of at this time.”
In addition to Johnson being identified by witnesses that police say were in the vehicle with him at the time of the shooting, Kizer said there was other evidence that led them to Johnson. “What we do know is that he was seen with a handgun in the vehicle right before the time that the shots were fired from the vehicle.”
U.S. Marshal Matt Goodwin said, “He was taken into custody without incident and did not resist arrest.”
Mutschlechner, a University of North Texas student, was shot while driving a car from a New Year’s Eve party in Denton. Four people were in the car when a dark-colored SUV, with several people inside, allegedly approached. The occupants of both exchanged words and at some point an argument began. Kizer wouldn’t be specific but said the comments made to Mutschlechner and her friends were disrespectful. “I don’t think it would be appropriate to state those [exact comments] right now, but they were very derogatory in nature… of a sexual nature.”
After the comments were made, as both vehicles started to drive away, someone in the SUV opened fire shooting the car Mutschlechner was driving several times. Mutschlechner’s vehicle slammed into another car before crashing into an electrical pole.
A bullet hit the 20-year-old in the head. She was taken to Denton Regional Medical Center, but died later after being taken off life support. Police were told Mutschlechner was behind the wheel because she was the designated driver and had not been drinking.
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