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Suspect Arrested In Fatal Shooting Of 20-Year-Old Texas College Student

The suspect, Eric Johnson, was detained in Arizona in connection to the New Years Day shooting of Sara Mutschlechner in Denton, Texas.

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Updated on

A suspect has been arrested in connection to the road rage incident-turned-fatal shooting of 20-year-old college student Sara Mutschlechner in Denton, Texas, on New Years Day, local police said.

According to a statement released by the Denton Police Department, officers obtained an arrest warrant from the the U.S. Marshall Service for 25-year-old Eric Jamal Johnson Tuesday morning.

Johnson was found and detained in Yuma, Arizona. Authorities have not recovered the weapon.

During a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Denton police spokesperson Shane Kizer elaborated on the conversation that took place early Friday morning between the people in Mutschlechner's and Johnson's cars.

What began as what Kizer described as an "amicable" exchange at an intersection went downhill when he said "derogatory statements of a sexual nature" were made towards the women in Mutschlechner's car by some of the the five or six men riding with Johnson.

One of the men with Mutschlechner allegedly responded, and according to witness statements gathered by authorities, that was when the shooting began.

Mutschlechner, who was struck in the head by one of the bullets, died Friday evening when she was taken off life support in the hospital.

Kizer said that Johnson may have "some ties to a military branch," but could not elaborate.

In a statement sent to BuzzFeed News on Saturday, Denton police officers said they responded to a call shortly after 2 a.m. on Jan. 1 about a gunshot victim who had been driving a car that crashed into an electrical pole.

Mutschlechner, a third-year student at the University of North Texas, was found lying on the ground outside the car when authorities arrived. She and three other people in the car had just left a New Years Eve party.

Witnesses in the car with her they told police a "dark colored Toyota or Lexus sports utility vehicle" pulled up next to them and that "several words were exchanged" between both parties.

As both cars crossed the intersection, an individual in the SUV fired several times at Mutschlechner. One gunshot struck her in the head, causing the car to hit another vehicle before slamming into an electrical pole.

Mutschlechner, a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority according to her Facebook page, was rushed to the hospital and placed on life support Friday. At 7 p.m. that day, she was taken off life support and died shortly after. One other person in the car suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Witnesses in the car with Mutschlechner told police "five or six African American males" were inside the SUV, and that at least two of them were at the same New Years Eve party they had come from. Approximately 60 other people were at the party.

Kizer said that the investigation is ongoing, and that depending on the extradition process, Johnson could return to Denton any time within the next few weeks.

Tamerra Griffin is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based Nairobi, Kenya.

Contact Tamerra Griffin at tamerra.griffin@buzzfeed.com.

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