Man Accused of Aiding Former College Athlete in Robbery, Shooting Arraigned

Man Accused of Aiding Former College Athlete in Robbery, Shooting Arraigned

News Staff

A 23-year-old man accused of joining a former UCLA football player in trying to hold up a Jurupa Valley marijuana dispensary and shooting an employee pleaded not guilty Friday to attempted murder and attempted armed robbery.

John Carlton Ross allegedly partnered with 24-year-old Craig Anthony Lee during the botched robbery at Kings Palace Cannabis Dispensary in the 6100 block of Mission Boulevard three years ago.

Ross was arraigned before Riverside County Superior Court Judge David Gunn, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for Sept. 24 at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

Lee, a reserve running back for the UCLA Bruins from 2013 to 2015, pleaded not guilty during a separate arraignment last month and is next due in court Sept. 27. He’s free on a $500,000 bond. Ross is being held on the same amount at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.

Lee, Ross and another as-yet unidentified man allegedly went into the marijuana shop on the afternoon of June 30, 2016, and attempted to forcibly take an undisclosed quantity of product, according to sheriff’s investigators.

During the robbery, one of the operators of the unlicensed dispensary was shot, though it’s unclear who fired the gun. Investigators said a security guard returned fire, and the defendants fled the business, eluding deputies who converged on the location moments later.

The gunshot victim, whose identity was not released, was hospitalized and eventually recovered.

During the ensuing three-year investigation, detectives ultimately garnered sufficient evidence to identify two of the three alleged perpetrators. A warrant was issued for Lee’s arrest on June 27, and he was located three weeks later on Avalon Boulevard in Los Angeles, where he was taken into custody without a struggle. Ross was taken into custody a week earlier in Corona.

Neither man has documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.