Murder, other charges filed against man accused of shooting, killing 7-year-old in Heber City

Local News

(Credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images)

HEBER CITY, Utah (ABC4) – New charges have been filed against the man accused of discharging a firearm and killing a 7-year-old girl on the other side of the apartment wall in Heber City.

Court records show 34-year-old Christopher O’Connell is now facing charges of murder, felony discharge of a firearm, possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, carrying a dangerous weapon while under the influence, intoxication, possession of a controlled substance, and attempting to or distributing a controlled substance, and sexual battery.

These charges from the Wasatch County Attorney’s Office are more than what O’Connell was arrested for last week.

On Friday, police were called to a shooting at a Heber City apartment building.

According to arresting documents, officers encountered O’Connell and 36-year-old Collin Howells when arriving at the scene. O’Connell was described as intoxicated, uncooperative, and non-compliant.

Police observed what appeared to be a firearm near his beltline and protruding from his t-shirt. During a search of the O’Connell, the gun was discovered and seized by police.

Detectives say they were able to determine O’Connell had pulled out a firearm and wave it around, while intoxicated. A bullet hole was found through a wall in Howells’ bedroom. According to police, that same bullet continued through the wall of the next apartment, striking 7-year-old Zaydanielys Rodriguez Irizary.

Danny Rodriguez, the girl’s father told ABC4 he received a call from a friend while at work that his daughter was on the floor bleeding. He rushed home and took her to the hospital where she died from her injuries.

O’Connell was arrested that night and booked into the Wasatch County Jail on charges of manslaughter, possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, possession of a controlled substance, carrying a dangerous weapon under the influence, and intoxication.

Howells and another man, 21-year-old Trever Joe Pinter, were arrested on charges unrelated to the shooting. Howells is facing charges of sexual battery and intoxication.

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