Tempe police: Love triangle in fatal shooting

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by The Associated Press and 3TV

Video report by Jared Dillingham

Posted on July 31, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 5 at 8:23 AM

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Tempe police say a fatal shooting after a collision at an intersection stemmed from a love triangle that involved the victim and the 22-year-old man arrested in the killing.

Moises Alejandro Gutierrez faces charges of first-degree murder, drive-by shooting and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in the Tuesday morning shooting that claimed the life of 21-year-old Zachary Rodriguez.

A probable cause statement released Wednesday says Gutierrez's girlfriend is Rodriguez's ex-girlfriend and also the mother of Rodriguez's child. Police have not released the name of that woman.

According to that court paperwork, Gutierrez told police that Rodriguez had been posting threatening statements on Facebook since he and the woman at the heart of the love triangle started dating.

"The defendant [Gutierrez] and the victim [Rodriguez] had an ongoing dispute about the defendant's relationship with the girlfriend," the probable cause statement reads.

Police say before the fatal confrontation, Gutierrez and his girlfriend had driven to Rodriguez's neighborhood, leaving when Rodriguez spotted them.

Rodriguez was immediately picked up by a juvenile female. With the girl behind the wheel, the pair followed Gutierrez to the intersection of 48th Street and Baseline Road.

That's where everything blew up.

Police say Gutierrez fired a rifle at Rodriguez as he got out of his car. Hit several times, Rodriguez later died at a local hospital. The girl who had been driving Rodriguez was not injured.

Witnesses said Rodriguez and the girl were not armed. Police did not find any weapons in their car.

Police said Gutierrez lied to officers several times, initially saying that it was merely a coincidence that he and his girlfriend had been in Rodriguez's neighborhood and that he habitually carried a rifle in his vehicle.

"The defendant later admitted that they were intentionally driving to the victim's home, and that he brought the rifle with him in anticipation of a confrontation with the victim," the probable cause statement reads. "The defendant said that he wanted to show his girlfriend that he was capeable [sic] of protecting her from the victim."

Police said Gutierrez and Rodriguez were members of the same gang and that Gutierrez is "an admitted firearms enthusiast and trains with his weapons."

Gutierrez was booked on charges of first-degree murder, drive-by shooting and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

A judge on Wednesday set a secured appearance bond of $1 million for Gutierrez, and scheduled a status conference for Aug. 7, followed by a preliminary hearing on Aug. 9.

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