A 21-year-old Arizona man who is accused of shooting his roommate dead during a fight Sunday tweeted a day earlier that he if he didn’t move out of the home he might “viciously murder” his roommates.
Zachary Penton, of Gilbert, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of 41-year-old Daniel Garofalo, police told the Arizona Republic.
Police were called to the East Morning Star Lane home where Penton and Garofalo lived about 11:15 a.m. for a report of a shooting. According to police, Penton admitted to the responding officers that he had fatally shot Garofalo during an argument, the Republic reports.
A Glock 17 handgun was found in the driveway of the home, and Penton told police he placed it there after the shooting, according to the newspaper. Penton was taken into custody at the scene.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Penton Says His Roommate Had Been ‘Acting Irrational’ & Threatened to Kill Him if He Didn’t Move Out
Zachary Penton told police that Daniel Garofalo, who owned the home where he and Penton were living, had been exhibiting bizarre behavior during the days leading up to the fight, according to court documents obtained by the Arizona Republic.
“Zachary said the homeowner had been acting irrational, and spoke about black holes and alternate universes which scared Zachary,” KTVK-TV says police wrote in a probable cause statement. “Zachary said he was scared and that was why he shot the homeowner. When asked if he would change anything, Zachary said he would not and was okay with the outcome since he was not hurt.”
Penton told police that Garofalo came into his bedroom and told him he was going to kill him if Penton didn’t move out of the house, according to the court documents. Penton told police Garofalo tackled him onto his bed and took his phone.
He said he tried to walk away from Garofalo, but Garofalo kept grabbing at him, police said. Penton told police he grabbed his Glock handgun from under his pillow and shot Garofalo twice while they were standing next to the bed, police said.
Garofalo was not armed, police said. He was shot in the head, according to police.
2. Penton Often Posted About Guns on Social Media, Including a Tweet in June Saying ‘Holy Shit Buying a Gun Is So Easy’
Penton tweeted frequently about guns, saying numerous times that he wanted one for protection. He also talked often about going shooting.
In one June tweet, Penton wrote, “holy shit buying a gun is so easy.”
You can see some of the other tweets below:
He also posted a photo of him holding a large knife while replying to a friend’s post about a “crazy lady” approaching his car:
He has tweeted about getting a gun for several years:
While Penton, who is charged with second-degree murder, threatened to “viciously murder” his roommates, he tweeted “murder is never the answer” last May.
He also retweeted a post about gun control earlier in August:
While his Twitter account includes many tweets about his interest in guns it wasn’t the only thing he wrote about. He also posted several times about his cars and his motorcycle, often sharing photos. He also tweeted about music, video games and going to the gym.
3. Penton Did Not Known Garofalo Before He Moved Into His Home 2 Months Ago, Police Say
Penton told police he moved into the house two months ago and did not know Garofalo before then, the Arizona Republic reports.
It is not clear how many other people lived in the home with Penton and Garofalo.
In a tweet following his post about how he might “viciously murder” his roommates, he wrote, “they literally just got into a drunk fight after one of them was stung by a bee, like wtf.”
No one else was home at the time of the shooting, police said.
4. His Tweet Has Been Shared More Than 25,000 Times, With Many Warning Others to ‘Always Follow Your Roommates on Twitter’
Penton’s tweet went viral after news of the shooting broke, and it had been retweeted more than 25,000 times by Monday night, with many people advising others, “always follow your roommates on Twitter.”
The Twitter post also led to many jokes on social media, and a parody account.
A woman who claimed to be friends with Penton, who has since made her account private, tweeted, “The insensitivity he used when he joked about killing his roommates over a drunken bee sting is the same insensitivity you’re all using when you make jokes about it and repost it for likes,” according to Buzzfeed.
She also said social media users were “shaming” Penton because of the murder charge.
Police did not comment about the tweet, but said they looking into the account as part of the investigation into the shooting.
5. Penton Is Being Held on $750,000 Bail at the Maricopa County Jail
Penton is being held on $750,000 bail on the second-degree murder charge, according to Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office records.
He was booked into the Maricopa County Jail.
Penton made his first court appearance Monday. It is not clear if he has hired an attorney.
Police said Penton is cooperating with the investigation.