Unified police ID female suspect in shooting death of Taylorsville man; 2 male suspects at large

Tonita Vainay Rico, also known as Tonita Espinoza. Photo: Salt Lake County

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah, Dec. 13, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — Unified Police officials have identified the woman taken into custody after Sunday’s fatal shooting in a Taylorsville apartment.

The suspect is Tonita Vainay Rico, also known as Tonita Espinoza. Rico has been charged with murder and robbery.

Police believe Rico, 49, is one of three people involved in the shooting, which happened at 10:10 a.m. According to information released by the Unified Police Department, a woman believed to be Rico knocked on the victim’s ground-floor door at the Fairstone at Riverview Apartments, 742 W. Sunny River Road, in Taylorsville.

Unified Police announced on Tuesday that they have a female person of interest in custody in connection with the Sunday, Dec. 10, homicide of Toussaint Tyler in Taylorsville. Surveillance photo courtesy: UPD

Her image was was caught by a surveillance camera.

When someone answered the door, two male suspects who had hidden out of view forced their way into the apartment, and shot the victim Toussaint Tyler, 30.

Tyler died a short time later at a local hospital.

On Tuesday morning, Unified Police detectives took Rico into custody. In the afternoon, they searched a residence connected to Rico, located at 1475 Gillespie Ave.

Rico has a lengthy criminal history, with drug- and theft-related charges.

UPD officials released Rico’s identity on Wednesday morning.

The remaining suspects are described as:

  • A short Hispanic man, between 20 and 30 years old, with light brown eyes, wearing a black coat or jacket and black construction-style pants, such as Carhartt.
  • A tall black man, about 40 years old, wearing a similar outfit to the other male suspect. The second man was also wearing a black beanie.

The UPD tweeted Sunday evening the suspect vehicle is thought to be a 1980s black Ford Mustang convertible. The vehicle has red stripes going down the sides, paint flaking off with primer showing through and  low-profile tires which extend past the fender with gold rims.

UPD Detective Jared Richardson said no weapon was found inside the apartment. Tyler lived in the apartment, but Richardson said it wasn’t clear if he was the owner or main renter, or a roommate. When Tyler was shot, there were three other adults in the apartment.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Unified Police Department at 801-743-7000.

A friend has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay Tyler’s funeral expense and start a college fund for his young daughter, the summary says. To visit, click here.

Toussaint Tyler. Photo: GoFundMe


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