Six suspects are facing murder charges after a meetup at a Catalina park led to the fatal shooting of a teenager, court documents say.
On June 21, five young men and a boy, who were later identified as Zachary Connor, 18; Joseph Nolan, 21; Drake Nolan, 19; Paul Rodriguez, 18; William Marley, 16; and Richard Miller, 19, were seen on security camera entering Black Horse Park, north of Tucson. Two of the suspects appeared to be carrying rifles and others appeared to have masks on their faces, according to court documents filed by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.
Later, a vehicle with James Sanchez, 16, and his friend entered the park. According to the friend, Sanchez went to the park in order to purchase a necklace, court documents state.
Sanchez exited the vehicle and had an interaction with an unknown individual, getting back into the vehicle a couple minutes later. The friend then heard banging on the driver’s doors and he began to drive away, court documents said.
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The friend heard additional bangs, which were determined to be gunshots, and Sanchez was slumped over in the car. The friend called the Pima County Sheriff’s Department and drove Sanchez to Oro Valley Hospital, court documents say.
It was determined that Sanchez was shot in the head and was taken to Banner-University Medical Center, where he died two days later, court documents say.
A download of Sanchez’s phone showed messages which indicated he was meeting someone in the Black Horse neighborhood to sell them “cake carts,” which are vape pen cartridges containing THC, the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana, court documents say. Inside of the car was Sanchez’s backpack, which contained a cake cart box that was primarily empty with a few carts in and around the box.
During follow-up interviews, a number of names were provided to the sheriff’s department, including Marley’s. Marley eventually went into the sheriff’s department with his attorney and surrendered, the court documents say. In the video the sheriff’s department released of the suspects, Marely identified himself to investigators as the individual who appeared to be carrying a military-style rifle.
On Aug. 26, Joseph Nolan, Drake Nolan, Rodriguez, Marley and Miller were arrested in connection to Sanchez’s death. The next day, Connor was apprehended by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Nogales Port.
The six suspects face first-degree murder, aggravated assault and armed robbery charges.
Jamie Donnelly covers breaking news for the Arizona Daily Star. Contact her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org