Police arrest alleged gang member suspected in drive-by shooting
SALT LAKE CITY — An 18-year-old alleged gang member who once told authorities he "doesn't expect to live past 25" was arrested by Salt Lake City police Thursday on an outstanding warrant.
David Soto Acosta, of West Valley City, was wanted on a probation violation. Acosta is also a suspect in a recent drive-by shooting that investigators believe was gang-related.
Just after 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Acosta was among a group of people arrested at 901 W. Euclid Ave. (140 South). A handgun and various drugs were also seized, according to Salt Lake police.
In 2013, Acosta pleaded guilty in 3rd District Court to aggravated assault. As part of his plea deal, the charge was reduced from a first-degree felony to a third-degree felony and a charge of assault by a prisoner was dropped.
That case was the result of an incident on Feb. 20, 2013, when Acosta was at the Decker Lake juvenile detention facility, 2310 W. 2770 South, when police say he stabbed another juvenile in the face with a sharpened pencil without warning, according to charging documents.
Acosta told investigators that even though he had never spoken with the other boy, he "just knew" he was an opposing gang member and had planned to attack him, the charges state. He stabbed his victim three times, just missing his eye, the report stated. Acosta said his goal was to make the boy "bleed" by "stabbing him in the eye," according to the charges.
"He states that this is his life and he will always attack people who oppose his gang. He states that he doesn't expect to live past 25 and that he plans on going to prison," the charges state.
Acosta also told investigators he would attack his victim again if given the chance and that "he will always attack those that oppose his gang no matter what the consequences."
Acosta also punched several staff members in the face while he was being restrained because he "didn't like the way staff took him down," according to the charges.
When Acosta was placed on probation in September, he was ordered to have no contact with known gang members, complete a mental health evaluation and treatment, and complete a gang program, according to court records. He was released from the Salt Lake County Jail on Jan. 26.
Acosta was arrested again on Feb. 21 for investigation of stealing a car. Detectives also found a gun with the serial number "obliterated" and drug paraphernalia, and they noted that Acosta had a new gang tattoo on his chin, according to court documents.
Detectives were investigating whether Acosta was involved in a drive-by shooting on Feb. 20. An arrest warrant was issued Feb. 27.
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