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Updated: 7-Year-Old Girl Killed in Heber Identified; Three Arrested

The Rodriguez-Irizarry family

The 7-year-old girl shot and killed at the Wasatch Commons Apartments Friday night was identified by her family as Zaydanielys "Zai" Rodriguez-Irizarry.

A family friend told KPCW that the family has lived in Utah for a year after moving from Puerto Rico. Zai lived with her father and two siblings, was active in school and sports, and was beloved around the apartment complex for her magnetic smile and personality.

The Wasatch County Sheriff's Office announced Sunday night that three men were arrested in connection with Zai's death: Christopher R. O’Connell, Colin D. Howells and Trever J. Pinter. Charges against the three include manslaughter, sexual battery, obstructing justice and intoxication. The sexual battery charge is not related to Zai's death.

O'Connell was charged with manslaughter and is being held without bail. Charges against Howells and Pinter were lesser and both have been released on bail.

According to the Wasatch County Sheriff's Office, Zai's father called 911 shortly after 10:30pm Friday and said his 7-year-old daughter had been shot and he was taking her to the Heber Valley Hospital, where she died around 11:30pm.

Sheriff Deputies responded to the hospital and the girl’s home at the Wasatch Commons Apartments on Highway 189 north of Heber.

 According to the Sheriff’s Office, shortly after arriving, deputies heard a gunshot coming from a nearby residence. Deputies approached the area and took three intoxicated men into custody.


The Wasatch Back Major Crimes Task Force is investigating the case.


Zai's family and friends have set up a Go Fund Me page for those who'd like to help the family with travel and funeral expenses.

Information about that can be found here.  

Sean Higgins covers all things Park City and is the Saturday Weekend Edition host at KPCW. Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.