Martindale neighbors remember UNT student shot on New Year's Day

20-year-old Sara Mutschlechner, a University of North Texas student, was taken off life support Friday, after being shot in the head.

The victim grew up just outside of Austin, in Martindale, and attended San Marcos High School. People who knew Sara were devastated by the news of her death.

“You wouldn't expect it to happen to her, you just wouldn't,” said Christine De Leon who has lived next to Sara’s family for 15 years. 

De Leon remembers the days when young Sara would ride her bicycle around the street.

“We got to see her grow from a young tyke into a beautiful young woman. Sara is very wholesome, very friendly, the joy of her parents. Their world obviously revolved around her and when she went away to college we didn't get to see her as much. When she did visit, just a little glimpse and a quick wave, but she was just the all American girl,” said De Leon.

When Christine learned she would never get to see Sara’s smiling face again, she was devastated.

“I cried just from hearing it. They're such good people. They don't deserve this. She didn't deserve it. Her friends don't deserve it. So it's just a life changing event for her family more so, but for those who knew them, who knew her, it’s life changing,” said De Leon. 

Sara was driving on North Elm Street in Denton about 2 A.M. Friday, when a black SUV pulled up next to her. Words were exchanged and someone in the SUV fired multiple times at Sara’s car, hitting her in the head.
               
Police said after Mutschlechner was hit, she crashed into another car and then hit an electrical pole. Witnesses told police the SUV carrying five or six black men drove away.
               
Sara was taken to Denton Regional Medical Center where she was put on life support, but did not recover.

“To have it be so sudden and such a violent manner, it's just heartbreaking,” said De Leon. 

Neighbors on the quiet street where Sara grew up are still trying to figure out why anyone would hurt such a great person.

“You expect to see this young, vibrant, young lady fulfill her dreams and serve as a role model for others, and have her dad walk her down the aisle, give them grandchildren, and they're not going to get that and it's just very, very sad. It's tragic,” said De Leon. 

Christine hopes police find those responsible quickly, to bring some closure to Sara’s parents who had their only child ripped from their lives far too soon.

“I do hope that whoever’s responsible does get caught and does face the law, but I think only God will be able to give true justice,” De Leon said. 

No matter if justice comes in this life or the next, one neighborhood in Martindale will never be the same.

"She can't be replaced," De Leon said.

Police say Sara was a designated driver for her friends on New Year’s Eve and was not drinking when the shooting took place.

Anyone with information about the shooting or the suspects involved is asked to contact the Denton Police Department.

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