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Counselors, support to be on hand after shooting death of 7-year-old girl

Jul 11, 2021, 7:05 PM | Updated: Dec 29, 2022, 12:11 pm

7-year-old shooting death...

Photo: Rodriguez Family

HEBER CITY, Utah — Counseling and grief support services will be available to a Wasatch County elementary school community, after the shooting death of a 7-year-old student over the weekend. 

A stray bullet passed through the wall of her apartment, fatally wounding 7-year-old Zaydanielys Rodriguez in a shooting Friday night. Her father, Danny Rodriguez, did not realize she’d been shot until after they got to the hospital. 

“She was asking for help, she was coughing blood on the floor,” Rodriguez told KSL TV’s Garna Mejia. “I told my boss I needed to leave because my daughter was bleeding from her mouth. That’s all I knew.”

She died later at the hospital.

Shooting of 7-year-old stuns Wasatch County

Zaydanielys, the oldest of Rodriguez’s three children, moved to Utah 11 months ago from Puerto Rico. She attended J.R. Smith Elementary School in Wasatch County. 

Sunday, the Wasatch County School District released a statement on Facebook offering counseling and grief support to students struggling with the sudden loss. 

“If you have concerns about your child’s reaction to this loss, please reach out to the District Offices at 435-654-0280,” the statement read. 

Rodriguez’s family plans to take Zaydanielys, nicknamed Zai by her father, back to Puerto Rico for burial. They set up a *GoFundMe page to raise funds to cover the expense. As of Sunday night, it raised more than $30,000. 

Three men likely to face charges

Wasatch County authorities arrested three men related to the events of Friday night, accusing one of manslaughter in the discharge of the stray bullet.

Police booked Christopher O’Connell into jail for investigation of manslaughter, possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, possession of a controlled substance, carrying a weapon while intoxicated, and intoxication. 

Colin Howells stands accused of sexual battery in a dispute at a different apartment in the same apartment complex where the shooting took place, as well as intoxication. 

Finally, investigators booked Trever Pinter into jail on suspicion of possible obstruction of justice. Investigators accused him of initially lying about whether he knew O’Connell had a handgun, then later admitting he did.  

Both Howells and Pinter posted bail and were released. O’Connell remains held without bail in the shooting of the 7-year-old girl. 

A prosecutor will screen the case and determine whether to file formal charges. 

*KSL NewsRadio does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Counselors, support to be on hand after shooting death of 7-year-old girl