Affidavit: Gang rivalries sparked shooting of 2 boys in Sandy

Suspect Tyson Conner Rocco (inset) has been arrested a drive-by shooting that sent two juveniles to Primary Children's Hospital on Friday, April 16, 2021. Photos: Salt Lake County; Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

SANDY, Utah, April 24, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A newly released probable cause statement filed in the case of 18-year-old Tyson C. Rocco, arrested on suspicion of shooting two boys near a TRAX station in Sandy, reveals more details in the case, and suggests the shootings were gang related.

Rocco was arrested the day after the April 16 incident, and was originally charged on suspicion of:

  • Two counts of first-degree felony murder (later amended because nobody died)
  • Three counts of third-degree felony discharge of a firearm.

As of Friday, his charges were amended to:

  • Three counts of felony discharge of a firearm with serious bodily injury (with a gang enhancement), a first-degree felony

New information filed into the court database on Friday confirms that the two victims, boys age 14 and 13, were walking from the Sandy TRAX station toward the house of a friend when “a vehicle pulled up and asked, ‘Where you from?,'” the statement says.

“They next thing he heard was ‘click clack,’ and they started running. (The older boy) said he knew something like this might happen because he was dressed ‘banged out,'” meaning he was dressed in gang attire. The older boy “is a known associate of Florencia 13, a rival gang of Norteños,” the new statement reveals.

A record check done later shows that Rocco “had known gang ties and known involvements with members of the Norteños gang,” the probable cause statement says. Rocco and the victims were not acquainted with each other, it says.

The statement also says that people in the area heard “three loud pops,” as the boys ran away, and one person reported hearing one or both boys saying, “I’ve been shot, I’ve been shot.”

The older boy was hit in the left thigh and right ankle. The younger was struck in the hand. They were later transported to Primary Children’s Hospital for treatment.

Sandy City Police obtained a UTA/TRAX surveillance photo of the vehicle’s license plate, and a records check revealed the registered owner to be Rocco’s mother, the statement says. His mother confirmed that fact to officers on the day of the shooting.

The next day, Rocco’s father went to the Sandy City Police Station, and told officers he believed his son might be involved with the shootings, the court document says. The father said another family member had been in contact with Rocco, who reportedly said “he was in trouble and going to prison,” after he saw a news article on the shooting.

A detective contacted Rocco, who met the officer and his father, and was taken into custody.

A search warrant served on Rocco’s house and car turned up drug paraphernalia, narcotics, a 7.62 caliber bullet, two 0.22 caliber bullets, and one black and one red face mask.

Tyson Conner Rocco. Photo: Salt Lake County

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