SAN TAN VALLEY — A heated argument on the social media platform Snapchat contributed to a homicide in San Tan Valley earlier this month, court records show.
According to Pinal County Sheriff’s Office records, Gage Perez, 20, of San Tan Valley surrendered to sheriff’s deputies May 7 after he allegedly shot and killed Adrian Clark about 11:35 p.m. on May 6 in San Tan Valley.
PCSO took a call regarding shots fired in the area of North Appalachian Trail in San Tan Valley, and when deputies arrived, they found the 35-year-old Clark shot three times and lying in the street. Clark was pronounced dead at 12:50 a.m. on May 7 at Banner Ironwood Medical Center.
Witnesses at the scene identified the suspect as Perez, who initially fled the scene but surrendered a short time after the shooting.
According to a PCSO probable cause statement, deputies located Perez’s father’s phone number, and they spoke with his father. A short time later Gage Perez called deputies saying he wanted to turn himself in to law enforcement. He surrendered to PCSO deputies at 12:37 a.m. on May 7, 13 minutes before Clark was pronounced dead at the hospital.
According to a witness in the case, the dispute began as an argument on Snapchat. She told investigators that Alyssa Perez was speaking poorly about a person known as “AB.” A brother to the witness “interjected in the Snapchat story in defense of AB. Alyssa Perez was offended by the comments and advised her brother Gage Perez,” a probable cause statement reads.
The two men began texting each other, according to court records, and Perez “responded to the residence on Appalachian Trail to engage in a physical fight.”
The witness told PCSO investigators that Gage and Alyssa Perez arrived at the house and got out of the vehicle they were in and everyone became engaged in an argument.
“She stated that Gage and Alyssa Perez returned to the vehicle; however the verbal altercation continued,” court records state, “Adrian Clark exited his residence to investigate the yelling. She stated Adrian Clark approached the left rear taillight of the white car, at which time Gage Perez shot Adrian Clark by firing three shots from a handgun and fled the scene in the white car.”
Two other witnesses back up the first statement given to investigators.
PCSO detectives also obtained a video recording of the incident from a surveillance system.
“The victim was seen exiting his residence and walks up to the vehicle. Seconds later the three muzzle flashes are seen and people separate.” Three 9mm cartridge casings were found at the scene, the PCSO deputy wrote in the probable cause statement.
It is unknown if Clark was related to anyone involved in the online argument, based on court records. He did not have the same last name as anyone else involved in the case, including witnesses to the crime.
Initially Perez was booked into jail for first-degree murder, but the charge was later dropped to second-degree by the Pinal County Attorney’s Office.
Perez remains in the Pinal County jail pending the posting of a $250,000 secured bond and is scheduled to appear Friday in Superior Court.