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Sheriff: child that died was shot by her father

Suspect charged in Helena for fatally shooting a young girl and injuring a woman
Girl dead, woman injured following shooting in Helena (July 10, 2022)
Posted at 11:34 AM, Jul 12, 2022

Lewis & Clark County Sheriff/Coroner Leo Dutton has identified 8-year-old Arianna Frankie Louise Valez of Helena as the girl that died on Sunday, July 10, 2022, after being shot at a residence on the 800 block of Orange Avenue.

Arianna is the daughter of Tony Louis Valez, who has been charged with killing her while firing at two other people on Sunday.

Officers were called to the area just after 5 p.m. for a report from a man that told dispatchers he shot at people inside his residence due to those people trying to assault him. A second 911 call was made by another person in the same residence stating that an adult female was shot.

Court documents state that Valez believed that the two people had come to his residence in order to remove him. Documents say that neither person made any threatening gestures or verbal threats towards Valez.

Police say that Valez admitted that he snapped, retrieved a firearm from his bedroom, and began shooting at the two people.

One woman was struck by the gunfire. Bullets missed the second person, but hit Arianna. The young girl was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead at 5:47 p.m.

The woman who was shot is expected to survive.

Valez has been charged with four felonies - one count of deliberate homicide, two counts of attempted deliberate homicide, and one count of criminal endangerment.

Bail for Valez was set at $1 million on Monday.

“At this time, my office is finding evidence to indicate the manner of death is homicide. Cause is a gunshot wound,” said Dutton in a news release.

The State Crime Lab in Missoula will perform an autopsy. The pathologist reserves the right to change the cause, pending the examination, if conclusive evidence contraindicates earlier findings. A finding is expected within two days.