CROUCH MESA — A possible gang-related front yard brawl Tuesday night in Crouch Mesa left one girl dead after several shots were fired into a gathered crowd, according to San Juan County Sheriff's Office deputies.

An autopsy revealed that Jayni Cline, 16, of Bloomfield, died as the result of a single shotgun pellet wound that entered through her lower back and into her heart, deputies said.

Evan Jordan, 18, of Crouch Mesa, is charged with an open count of murder in connection with the shooting, according to Sgt. Tyler Truby. He was booked into the San Juan County Detention Center on a $100,000 bond.

Jordan returned to the crime scene Wednesday on County Road 3323, where he was detained and interviewed by sheriff's office detectives, Truby said. Additional arrests may be made as the investigation continues.

Deputies believe that a recovered shotgun is the murder weapon, noting that the ongoing investigation does not indicate additional firearms were used.

"There is nothing that indicates other people were shot or that other weapons were fired," Truby said.

The County Sheriff's Office Gang Suppression Unit identified several participants of the fight as being gang members or having strong gang affiliations, Truby said. At this time, it is unknown if the incident is directly related to gang activity.

At around 11:45 p.m., deputies arrived at a residence on County Road 3323 where an on-going fight between Cline's boyfriend and a resident culminated into a violent battle involving 15 to 20 people, deputies said.


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After a verbal argument on the telephone Tuesday night, Cline's boyfriend allegedly drove to the man's house with his friends and Cline, deputies said. The man reportedly told Cline's boyfriend "there would be a fight" when he arrived.

When the group arrived at the house on CR 3233, 15 to 20 people began fighting each other, some armed with metal pipes, bats, sticks and other "blunt force weapons," deputies said.

Doris Wilner, 80, said she witnessed part of the fight from next door.

"They were fighting with baseball bats and using the worst language I've ever heard," she said.

Witnesses told deputies that during the fight, someone yelled into the crowd for an unknown person to get a gun. When the group with Cline's boyfriend heard that call, they ran toward their vehicles.

As they ran, several shots were fired.

When Cline reached her boyfriend's car, she realized she had been shot, deputies said. Her boyfriend drove her to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The people next door were having a party Tuesday night prior to the brawl, Wilner said.

"I didn't have a phone, so I couldn't call the police," Wilner said. "Maybe if I did, all of this could have been avoided."

After the shots rang out, two neighborhood boys ran into her house, she said. Deputies interviewed her Wednesday morning and searched the house for evidence.

Wilner said the woman who owns the house next door to her moved to Phoenix one and a half weeks ago, leaving the home in the care of her oldest son. Wilner estimated the boy is around 18 years old, noting that prior to Tuesday night's shooting, the residents have never seemed violent.

"There used to be a dog that irritated the woman next door, but she didn't go to fists over it," Wilner said.

Deputies are investigating to determine whether drugs or alcohol were contributing factors to the shooting, Truby said.

Anyone with information that might help the investigation is encouraged to call the San Juan County Sheriff's Office at (505) 334-6107 or Crime Stoppers at (505) 334-TIPS.

Rhys Saunders: rsaunders@daily-times.com