MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Police said they have made an arrest in the November drive-by shooting that likely left a now 13-year-old girl paralyzed.
Casey Michelle Walters, 19, was allegedly the driver in the drive-by shooting that happened at East 34th Street and Chicago Avenue South, police say.
Guadalupe Galeno-Hernandez was shot in the throat while walking with family to their aunt’s home. The bullet went through Guadalupe’s spinal cord and likely paralyzed her for life. She is currently recovering at Gillette Children’s Hospital in St. Paul.
“I hope they find all of them in the car,” she said Tuesday.
According to the criminal complaint, officers were dispatched around 9:20 p.m. on Nov. 12 to 3400 Chicago Ave. S. on a report of a shooting. Upon arrival, family members of the girl shot said they were walking back to a residence when they heard someone yell, “Southside!” and “Trece!” which means 13.
The family said they then saw a man with his upper body hanging out of the sunroof of a small lighter-colored vehicle, holding a small pistol. The man allegedly yelled “VL killers!” and fired one round at the group.
The family hit the ground and the driver of the car sped away.
In a police interview with Walters on Jan. 14, she admitted that she was acquainted with some gang members and had dated someone who police believe was a Surenos 13 gang member. Police also noted that Walters had the number “13″ tattooed on her neck.
Walters said she had a gray Optima with a sunroof that she frequently lends to a friend. She said that friend once showed her a gun while they were at a residence near Park and 31st.
According to the criminal complaint, Walters admitted to police that she was the driver of the car during the drive-by shooting. She said there were three other men in the car that day, one in the front and two in the back.
The alleged shooter has not been identified. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman would not comment on the possible shooter referenced in the criminal complaint. He did say that a $10,000 reward from Crime Stoppers, that was offered for tips in this case, helped police find Walters.
“Frankly in cases like this we rely on the community to help us — no witnesses, no case,” Freeman said. “Why this girl was shot and these people were shot at, we don’t know.”
Freeman said no one from Guadalupe’s family is a member of a gang. He believes this may have been a case of mistaken identity.
Walters told police she didn’t know that anyone had been hit and only later learned that a girl was shot and paralyzed.
It is not clear at this point whether the car Walters was allegedly driving is the same vehicle found by police last week. A Crime Stoppers tip had led officers to a car with a sunroof that was parked at a St. Paul gas station that was processed for possible evidence.
Walters moved to Indiana after the shooting but was arrested at Southdale Service Center in Edina on Friday. Police are still hoping to arrest the three other people who were in the car, including the gunman.
Guadalupe could be allowed to go home sometime in February.