A US Marine was arrested and charged with the shooting death of University of North Texas student Sara Mutschlechner. Corporal Eric Jamal Johnson was taken into police custody by the US Marshal Service in Yuma, Arizona at the Marine Corps Air Station where Johnson serves. Johnson's squadron conducts weapons and tactics aviation training.
A local CBS affiliate reported how the 20-year-old marine was arrested after a warrant was issued in connection with the apparent road rage incident in Denton, Texas, early New Year's Day. The affidavit for the arrest warrant for Johnson stated he also went by the name Santana Sage and was arrested on charges of murder, a first degree felony in Texas. Information regarding an attorney for Johnson was not available.
Mutschlechner, also 20 years old, was driving in Denton at around 2am CST/8am GMT with friends after leaving a New Year's Eve party when she was shot in the head. Witnesses said a black or dark-coloured SUV had approached Mutschlechner's vehicle and engaged her and her friends in conversation. The affidavit claims the individuals in the SUV made lewd comments towards Mutschlechner and her friend.
A male passenger in the student's car, identified only as Cori, reportedly told the males he did not appreciate the comments. One of the males in the SUV then threatened him and displayed a black semi-auto handgun, the affidavit said.
The two cars continued to drive side by side, heading southbound on Elm St. From the SUV were reportedly fired two shots, one of which hit Mutschlechner in the head. The victim lost control of her vehicle, hitting another vehicle and eventually crashing into a telephone pole.
Mutschlechner was taken to Denton Regional Medical Center and place on life support but never recovered. She was taken off life support on 1 January. The UNT junior, who was also a member of a sorority, was commemmorated during a candlelight vigil held outside the university's Greek Life Center.