Marine charged in road rage killing of Texas college student

(Left) Cpl Eric Johnson, was arrested at his air base in Yuma, Arizona, on Tuesday morning on suspicion of shooting and killing Sara Mutschlechner. Photo credit: Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego (Right) Sara Mutschlechner was a 20-year-old junior at the University of North Texas. Photo credit: Facebook

DENTON, Texas — Investigators say a suspect has been arrested in Arizona in the fatal shooting of a University of North Texas student on New Year’s Day.

Police in Denton, Texas, say Eric Jamal Johnson was arrested Tuesday in Yuma, Arizona, on a murder warrant in the death of 20-year-old .

Sara Mutschlechner

Johnson is a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps and has been stationed at the Marine Corp Air Station in Yuma since August 12, 2013.  He is reportedly a member of the Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron-1.  It is not known if Johnson was on leave at the time of the incident.

Denton police didn’t immediately provide details on what led to Johnson’s arrest. Police planned a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Investigators say Mutschlechner was fatally shot during an exchange of words between people in the vehicle she was driving and people in an SUV.

The sedan Sara Mutschlechner was driving crashed into an electrical pole after she was shot in the head during the road rage incident on New Year's Eve. Photo credit: Denton Police Department.
The sedan Sara Mutschlechner was driving crashed into an electrical pole after she was shot in the head during the road rage incident on New Year’s Eve. Photo credit: Denton Police Department.

Police say Mutschlechner was the designated driver after attending a New Year’s Eve party when the exchange happened on a road in Denton, about 40 miles northwest of Dallas.  They also said at least two of the men in the SUV with Johnson were at the same New Year’s Eve party, but did not interact with Sara and her friends until the road rage incident.

Popular Military’s Michael Swaney contributed to this report

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