Cedar City police arrest man in connection to drive-by shooting of vehicle

Stock image | Photo by Chalabala/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

CEDAR CITY —Police have arrested a 20-year-old man on a weapons charge following an investigation into a reported drive-by shooting in Cedar City late Thursday night.

The man, identified as Thomas Lee Costa, was arrested and booked into the Iron County Jail Friday afternoon following an interview with Cedar City Police.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed in support of the arrest, police had identified Costa as a person of interest in a “shots fired” incident reported the previous evening.

Police officials haven’t disclosed many details regarding that incident, citing an ongoing investigation, but did confirm that it occurred at approximately 11:15 p.m. Thursday near 250 E. 820 South in Cedar City and that at least one shot was fired at a vehicle on the street.

Police searched multiple areas of town late Thursday and early Friday but were not able to locate a suspect. They did, however, identify Costa as a person of interest in that investigation, according to the probable cause statement. 

Thomas Lee Costa booking photo, Iron County Jail, Cedar City, Utah, April 3, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St George News / Cedar City News

Later on Friday, Costa submitted to a police interview, during which he reportedly admitted to details regarding his criminal background as a juvenile in California.

“Under Miranda, he stated that he had been convicted for two counts of car hopping (vehicle theft) and two gun charges,” states the probable cause affidavit, which was filed on Friday by Cedar City Police officer Matt Topham.

One of Costa’s felony vehicle theft convictions dates back to 2014, the probable cause statement indicates.

Investigators also reportedly found a video that purportedly shows Costa waving a Glock handgun while dancing around. He is seen on the video pulling back the slide on the gun as if he were chambering a round, according to the probable cause statement. The video was reportedly filmed at Costa’s friend’s house in Cedar City within the past month, the statement adds. 

“Due to his prior criminal history, he is a Category II Restricted person and he was in possession of a firearm at the time the video was recorded,” the statement reads.

Based on the evidence in the video and statements made by Costa during the interview, police arrested Costa on suspicion of possession of a firearm by a restricted person, potentially a third-degree felony. Additional charges related to the alleged drive-by shooting incident may be added later, pending further investigation, police said.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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