PHOENIX — A suspect was arrested Sunday in the fatal shooting of Graciela Molina, a 15-year-old who was hit in the neck by a stray bullet in her Phoenix home on Friday night, police said.
Fernando Pina, 35, was arrested and faces one charge of manslaughter for recklessly shooting into a residence causing death, two charges of discharging a firearm in the city and two charges of endangerment as Molina's father and Molina's 11-year-old sister were in proximity of the shooting, according to a probable cause statement from police.
Officers responded to the area of 48th Street and Broadway Road around 8:15 p.m. Friday and located Molina, police said.
Molina, known to her family as Andrea, was in her second-floor bedroom at the time of the shooting when a bullet came from outside, police said.
Molina was transported to Banner University Hospital with life-threatening injuries where she was later pronounced dead, police said.
According to police, Pina was caught with the help of a member of the community who came forward to help break the case in less than 40 hours of the crime.
In court documents, police said the witness saw Pina shoot a handgun at a block wall several times, before going back to his home. The documents go on to say spent casings investigators found in a utility field lined up with where the witness said they saw Pina shooting.
"It’s fair to say that he was shooting in a direction very recklessly, which ultimately led to this tragedy," Executive Assistant Chief Michael Kurtenbach with Phoenix Police said.
According to police, a search warrant was served on Pina's vehicle and they found a Glock firearm box, with spent casings inside, and forensic evidence linking Pina to the crime.
"Her loss devastated her family and it was hard for our first responders and our entire department, for that matter, to wrap our heads around such a senseless and meaningless tragedy," Kurtenbach said.
According to police, Pina was booked into Maricopa County Jail and bond was set at $750,000 during a court appearance on Monday. He was ordered to not have weapons and to stay away from the scene of the shooting.
Pina's request for a lower bond was denied. He claimed he was the only provider for his family and he needed to be out to be able to work.
His next court appearance is next week.
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