Two teens arrested in Sunnyside drive-by shooting

Sun Staff Reporter

Two teens who are in this country illegally and appear to have ties to a Flagstaff youth street gang were arrested by Flagstaff police in connection with a drive-by shooting in Sunnyside Tuesday.

The older boy, 17, was booked into the county's juvenile jail on charges of attempted first-degree murder, drive-by shooting at a person, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault resulting in serious injury, false information to police, illegal consumption of alcohol and an arrest warrant.

The younger boy, 13, was booked into juvenile jail on charges of drive-by shooting at a person, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault resulting in serious injury and illegal consumption of alcohol.

Neither boy is a citizen of the United States. The elder boy has several aliases, fake Social Security numbers and fake resident alien cards.

According to Flagstaff police reports, residents in the area of Colanthe Avenue and Main Street in Sunnyside heard three gunshots ring out at about 6 p.m. Tuesday.

An 18-year-old man had been shot in the arm. He was taken to Flagstaff Medical Center for treatment.

According to witnesses at the scene, a red passenger car pulled up alongside the victim and other unidentified people and some "trash" talk ensued just before the gunfire.

Several witnesses at the scene gave police descriptions of the two people in the red passenger car.

Detective James Jackson of the Flagstaff Police Department said that police tracked down several leads and ended up with a possible suspect who drove the red car.

Jackson said detectives made contact with the boy and through the course of interviews identified a second boy, then found a Tech 9 semi-automatic handgun and the red car. Jackson said it is unknown at this time if the Tech 9 was used in the shooting.

The two boys were brought to the police department for questioning.

"They made statements implicating themselves in the shooting Tuesday and another drive-by shooting that happened Saturday," Jackson said.

The reason for the shooting is still under investigation.

"There was indication of gang affiliation as a result of numerous interviews," Jackson said.

Detective Lt. Kevin Treadway said police do not want to divulge the names of gangs that are possibly involved in the shooting.

"We are concerned about retaliation," Treadway said. "But we do believe there are gang ties here, and the charges do reflect that."

Jackson said the investigation is ongoing, and detectives were in the process of serving two search warrants Wednesday in search of more evidence.

It is possible that the 17-year-old will be charged as an adult, Treadway said. The case will be forwarded to the Coconino County Attorney's Office for a charging decision.

Incidents of gang-related activity have been on the rise in Flagstaff this year, according to police officials. Police have responded to a rise in drive-by shootings (three in Sunnyside since July 1), street fights, drug activity and incidents of graffiti.

The GITEM gang-task force, which was disbanded in 2003 because of state budget problems, will return to Flagstaff beginning in early November.