Trial is scheduled to begin Thursday for two men suspected in a gang-related shooting that killed one man and wounded two others outside a Cathedral City strip club.
Christian Miramontes, 26, and Manuel Vargas, 31, are each charged with murder and two counts of attempted murder in the June 13, 2018 shooting outside the Showgirls Gentlemen’s Club. Indio resident Jason Rosas, 24, was killed.
The men also face special circumstance allegations of being active gang members, making them eligible for the death penalty if prosecutors pursue it. Court records show that decision has not yet been made.
A third co-defendant remains wanted in the crime. Guillermo Cintora Gomez is believed to have fled to Mexico, according to court documents.
Police say the suspects, Rosas and two other men got into a fight inside the club. The fight allegedly spilled into the parking lot after the men were kicked out at around 2 a.m. The men were identified as “two groups of rival gang members” by former Cathedral City Police Chief Travis Walker.
According to an arrest warrant declaration, witnesses stated that the men were flashing gang tattoos to each other inside the club. Police did not specify what gangs the involved parties belonged to, but court documents state that they were from gangs operating within the Indio area.
After the fighting guests were kicked out of the club by security, the suspects allegedly went to Gomez’s 2016 Jeep Wrangler and retrieved handguns, the declaration states. Miramontes and Vargas allegedly fired at the rival gang members and then the trio fled in Gomez’s Jeep, which was later found abandoned, according to the document.
All three victims were taken to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, where Rosas later died. The other two victims, who were both 28 years old at the time, were both expected to survive, police said.
Both men remain in custody without bail.