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Police arrest man in shooting death of 14-year-old Salt Lake boy

Romeo Rodriguez, 14, died Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, after he was shot earlier that morning in a West Valley park, police said.
Romeo Rodriguez, 14, died Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, after he was shot earlier that morning in a West Valley park, police said.
Family photo

SALT LAKE CITY — Police arrested an 18-year-old man Wednesday in the death of a Salt Lake teen who was shot in the face last week.

Frank Tsinnijinne was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of murder.

About 3:15 a.m. on Aug. 2, West Valley police responded to Jordan Valley Medical Center's West Valley Campus after friends of Romeo Rodriguez, 14, had driven him to the emergency room, police said.

He was in critical condition and was later flown to Primary Children's Hospital, where he died that afternoon.

West Valley police spokeswoman Roxeanne Vainuku said investigators believe the confrontation began "as a result of perceived gang affiliation," but did not elaborate.

Rodriguez was in the back seat of a truck when he was shot. Three or four others were in the car, police said.

The group was at Kings Point Park when they were approached by another group at 1330 W. Rothchild Drive (3670 South). Words were exchanged and at least one shot was fired through the windshield, striking the teen, Vainuku said.

Neighbors said they heard more than one gunshot.

It remained unclear Wednesday whether Rodriguez was targeted or shot at random, why the group was in the park before dawn or how many people were with the gunman.

Court records show no history of criminal activity by Tsinnijinne. No formal charges have been filed against him.