20-Year-Old Man Pleads Not Guilty to Shooting Up Desert Hot Springs Skate Park

20-Year-Old Man Pleads Not Guilty to Shooting Up Desert Hot Springs Skate Park

Ceci Partridge

(CNS) – A 20-year-old man suspected in a drive-by shooting at a Desert Hot Springs skate park that left a teenager wounded pleaded not guilty Friday to attempted murder and other felony charges.

Jelani Arman Wooten of Desert Hot Springs was arraigned via video conference before Superior Court Judge Alfonso Fernandez at the Banning Justice Center. He set the defendant’s bail at $2 million and scheduled a felony settlement conference for Nov. 16 at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.

Wooten, who remains jailed at the Smith Correctional Facility, was arrested near the scene of the Tuesday afternoon shooting at Tedesco Park, where he allegedly fired at random, wounding a 16-year-old boy once in the shoulder and nearly striking another person, according to police Chief Jim Henson.

Wooten is charged with two counts each of attempted murder and assault with a semi-automatic firearm, along with one count each of discharging a firearm from a vehicle, and willfully and maliciously discharging a firearm from a vehicle. He additionally faces several gun-related sentence-enhancing allegations.

The defendant could be sentenced to 59 years to life in state prison if convicted as charged, according to John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

Police were called to the skate park at the north end of Tedesco Park, 12800 West Arroyo, about 2 p.m. in response to a report of a gunshot victim and found the wounded boy, whose name was not released. He was taken to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs for treatment.

A vehicle matching the suspect vehicle description was tracked down near the park, where two men and a minor were detained, police said. Only Wooten has been charged thus far, although the investigation remains active, Henson said.

A motive for the shooting was not disclosed.

Wooten has no documented felony or misdemeanor convictions in Riverside County.

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