DALLAS (TIP): A 20-year-old University of North Texas junior died Friday, January 1 night after she was shot in what police suspect was a road rage incident.
Denton officers found Sara Mutschlechner about 2 a.m. near a car that had smashed into a utility pole in the 1700 block of North Elm Street by Texas Woman’s University.
Witnesses reported that she was shot in the head after a dark-colored or black Toyota or Lexus SUV carrying five or six men drove up next to her car.
People in the SUV exchanged words with the passengers in Mutschlechner’s vehicle, police said. As the two vehicles crossed University Drive, someone in the SUV fired multiple shots at her car.
Mutschlechner’s car struck another vehicle before crashing into the pole.
Witnesses said she had been a designated driver for her companions on New Year’s Eve and had not been drinking.
One of her four passengers sustained minor injuries and was treated and released from Denton Regional Medical Center.
Mutschlechner also was taken to the medical center, where she remained on life support for most of Friday before she died, police said.
The junior from Martindale studied radio, television and film at UNT, according to her Linkedin profile.
“Growing up I was entranced by the beauty of cinema and as an avid movie-goer I one day decided that this — this beautiful thing I so enjoyed watching — was what I wanted to dedicate my life to,” she wrote. “I want to inspire change just as much as I want to inspire future filmmakers, like myself, to continue creating beautiful and original works of art.”
Jordan Wright, president of the Short Film Club, said she attended classes with Mutschlechner.
“Sara was a very sweet person, always friendly, and talented in the Media Arts program and Short Film Club organization on campus,” Wright said in an email Friday. “Nobody could have been prepared for what happened early this morning … we are all still having trouble registering the events that have taken place so rapidly and tragically.”
According to Mutschlechner’s Facebook page, she was also a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority.
Thank you so much to everyone in our community for your support during this time. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sara and her family ❤️ — North Texas ZTA (@unt_zta) January 1, 2016
“Thank you so much to everyone in our community for your support during this time,” a message posted to the sorority’s Twitter page said Friday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Sara and her family.”
Mutschlechner’s family could not be reached for comment Friday.
UNT spokeswoman Margarita Venegas expressed condolences to Mutschlechner’s family and friends.
“It’s a very sad for thing for us whenever we lose a member of the university community,” she said.
A candlelight vigil will be at 8 p.m. Saturday at the university’s Greek Life Center, according to the Student Government Association.
Police provided no physical description of the men in the SUV except that they were black, but witnesses told police that at least two of them had been at a New Year’s Eve party on Crisoforo Drive overnight.
The DJ at the party, Denis McInerny, said he saw no fights or other disturbances at the party, though there might have been a scuffle outside.
“The whole shooting thing caught me off-guard judging by the crowd that was there,” he said. “I didn’t think the events were related in any way.”
Police said about 60 people attended the New Year’s Eve party.
Anyone who attended the party or has information about the case may call investigator Eric Beckwith at 940-349-7974 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Police also are looking for anyone who may have pictures or videos from the party.
(Source: Dallas Morning News)