TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - 21-year-old Mateo Dina Zavala has been arrested in connection to a woman who died after her and two others were seriously hurt in a gun battle on the I-19 near Green Valley on Saturday, June 29.
Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Kameron Lee said Zavala from Santa Ana, Calif., has been arrested in connection to the three people shot. He was booked into the Pima County Sheriff’s Office Jail for one count of first degree homicide, six counts of endangerment, three counts of aggravated assault and two counts of drive by shooting.
At approximately 5:02 p.m. on Saturday, June 29, AZDPS troopers responded to reports of shots being fired between two vehicles on northbound I-19 near kilometer 65 (Esperanza Blvd).
911 callers reported someone in a black Jeep Cherokee with a California license plate was shooting at a red sedan with black stripes. Additional information stated the Jeep was stopped in the median and a male described to be wearing a black hat and all black clothing was shooting a small handgun after exiting the vehicle. A 911 caller stated Zavala reached into the red sedan. An additional caller stated the vehicle in which the shots were being fired from was parked in the median.
When a U.S. Border Patrol Agent arrived on scene, Zavala stated he was the shooter and self-surrendered to the agent.
One of the victims sitting in the front passenger seat of the red sedan sustained a gunshot wound to the head. The victim, identified as 25-year-old Marilynn Patricia Pacheco, was transported to Banner UMC, where she later succumbed to her injuries.
A male driver of the red sedan, who was shot in the neck, was able to exit the vehicle, taking the three-year-old with him and began to run down the off ramp for Esperanza Boulevard. Both victims were picked up by good samaritans and taken to a nearby restaurant for medical attention.
One of the victims gave a statement leading up to the shooting. They stated the three had traveled to a lake and on their way back to Eloy, one of the victims was arguing on the phone with Zavala. After hearing the car window break and feeling a burning sensation to their neck, the victim stated they drove through the median to escape Zavala. The victim recalls seeing blood coming from Pacheco’s head when the car came to a stop. The driver shot in the neck took the child from the backseat and began to run towards the off ramp away from Zavala according to the police report.
The driver of the red sedan and the three-year-old were both taken to Banner UMC, where they were treated and released. One victim sustained a gunshot would to the neck while another sustained a gunshot wound to the leg.
One of the victim’s mothers stated Zavala was seen at the victim’s residence at 4:30 p.m. earlier and that the victim and Zavala have dated in the past, with the victim traveling to California approximately two weeks prior to the incident.
In an interview with a Pima County Sheriff Deputy, Zavala stated he began to follow the victims in the red sedan after he saw them leave a residence. Zavala said he pulled alongside the red sedan and noticed a male in the vehicle. According to the interview with Zavala, he said he thought a victim in the red sedan saw a girl in his vehicle and began shooting. Zavala admitted he began shooting at the red sedan, but was unsure about how many bullets he shot.
Zavala said he used a Glock 19 generation 4 handgun in the incident.