3 suspects arrested involved in drive-by shooting of Utah high school student

3 suspects arrested involved in drive-by shooting of Utah high school student. (Photo: Salt Lake County Jail)

Three individuals were arrested believed to be involved in the drive-by shooting of a 17-year-old that took place Friday.

Sandy Police Department made the arrests on Saturday and seized the green Ford Explorer involved in the shooting. Police said the teen was shot several times in the front yard and was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

James Edward Smith, age 19, and Emmanuel Augustus Espinoza, age 20, were arrested for criminal homicide and obstruction of justice.

According to arrested documents, Smith told investigators he had been having issues with the teenager who was shot. Smith picked up Espinoza from his house and two men drove the green Ford Explorer to the victim's house.

The two men waited for the teen to come outside from his Sandy home and that's when they drove-by while shooting rounds from inside the vehicle in his direction, court documents said. Bullets impacted the teen in his chest while other shots hit his family home. The shots that entered the teen's chest cavity resulted in injures that killed him, arresting documents state.

Espinoza was in the backseat while Smith was driving; Smith told investigators he did not know what Espinoza was planning to do until after the shots were fired. The two men fled the scene – but not without neighbors and witnesses able to get a descriptions of the vehicle. Investigators also used several smart doorbell cameras to help identify the vehicle.

Smith dropped Espinoza back off at his home and returned to the Discover Inn located in Midvale where he and his mother were staying. His mother – Dina Maria Smith, age 58 – was also arrested the same day for obstruction of justice.

When investigators asked Dina Smith about her son and the green Ford Explorer, court documents said she lied to them. Dina Smith is accused of giving false information about the whereabouts of the vehicle and where her son was during the incident.

The Sandy Police Department has not yet released the identity of the 17-year-old as of Saturday morning.