Casa Grande, AZ

Teen to be tried as adult in Casa Grande drive-by shooting case

Jeremy Beren

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Picacho Peak State Park, near Casa Grande, Ariz.KatieThebeau/Flickr

By Jeremy Beren / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ

(Casa Grande, Ariz.) — According to one online database, violent crime in one of Pinal County's largest cities is more than one-and-a-half times greater than the national average.

NeighborhoodScout's statistics show that on average, four out of every 1,000 United States residents experience some form of violent crime — which can include assault, murder, rape, and robbery. Per NeighborhoodScout, the violent crime rate in the state of Arizona is one per 199 residents, while in Casa Grande — a city of roughly 54,000 people — that rate jumps to one every 159.

Around five in every 1,000 Casa Grande residents fall victim to assault, despite Sheriff Mark Lamb's "tough on crime" stance. Aggravated assault is one of a slew of charges a Pinal County grand jury has levied at 17-year-old Arthur Christopher Montijo, who is said to have endangered multiple people in a drive-by shooting last month.

Montijo is alleged to have endangered three residents on March 15 after he discharged a .45 caliber handgun in Casa Grande. Montijo was arrested but released on a $50,000 bond. However, he will be tried as an adult and, if convicted, will face time in prison after the grand jury's indictments became public.

Montijo has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault as well as drive-by shooting — a class two felony that in Arizona carries a minimum seven-year prison sentence.

An aggravated assault felony can range from class six (least serious) to class two (most serious) and carries a presumptive prison term of at least 27 months.

In addition, Montijo has been charged with misconduct involving weapons, unlawful discharge of a firearm, and disorderly conduct involving disturbing the peace.

The Casa Grande Police Department has not released further details, as Montijo is still underage — in spite of the already-taken decision to try him as an adult.

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Jeremy is a freelance journalist covering health, energy, labor, and local politics. Reach him at jeremy.beren@newsbreak.com.

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