2 arrests made in road rage incident that sent 9-year-old to hospital

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Oscar Santa Maria (Source: TPD) Oscar Santa Maria (Source: TPD)
Carlos Santa Maria (Source: TPD) Carlos Santa Maria (Source: TPD)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The drive home became a crime scene on Thursday evening as Tucson Police investigated a road rage shooting that sent a 9-year-old girl, who was in one of the vehicles, to the hospital.

"It was all full of blood. She was wearing a white shirt but she was calm and she was actually doing really good. I think it was the adrenaline," said witness Blanca Valenzuela.

Police arrested two Tucson men as the victim recovers from her injuries. They said 19-year-old Oscar Santa Maria and 20-year-old Carlos Santa Maria fled the scene before police arrived.

Tucson Police said that the road rage incident started as a traffic argument between the driver of an SUV and the driver of a white Dodge Neon that police were still seeking Thursday night. When the drivers turned south on Campbell, people in both cars started firing at each other.

"There was gunfire exchange from both vehicles. I don't know which person from inside which vehicle was firing. That will come out in the investigation. Right now, I just know that gun fire did come from both vehicles," said Tucson Police Sgt. Pete Dugan.

The SUV turned around, headed north, as the Neon continued south. The girl's family in the SUV called 911 and pulled over. She had been shot in the leg and was taken to the hospital with a non-life-threatening injury. Police said there was an 11-year-old boy in the car but he was not injured.

"The bullets could go anywhere and innocent people could obviously be struck. In this case, a 9-year-old girl was struck," Valenzuela said.

"It could have been easily avoided, I believe. It's just kids being crazy I guess. And that little girl could've lost her life.Thank God she was okay," Sgt. Dugan.

Police later located the suspects' Neon and booked them into the Pima County Jail on charges of drive-by shooting. Carlos was also charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Carlos Santa Maria made his first appearance in video court Friday night on charges of drive by shooting and four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. His brother Oscar, who did not appear, is charged with drive by shooting. Tucson Police said Oscar was the driver.

Tucson Police said they found the suspected white Dodge Neon Thursday night with the two men inside, after a road rage incident where police say shots were fired from both the Neon and an SUV that held four people, including a 9-year-old girl who was hit in the leg. She was treated for a non-life threatening injury.

But Oscar Santa Maria's wife said off-camera and with the request to not be identified that the driver of the SUV, who was the girl's father, tried to run the brothers off the road. Oscar’s wife also said that he told her that the father started firing first.

A brief interim complaint by Tucson Police said that Oscar had a near miss with the SUV, and when he pulled behind the SUV, Carlos fired three times. One of the shots hit the nine year old girl in her knee.

A search warrant found a nine millimeter semi automatic handgun with a magazine and live rounds along with an extra magazine and rounds.

Tucson Police said charges are pending against the girl's father, and that she and the eleven year old boy who was also in the SUV have been placed with relatives by Child Protective Services.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.


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