INDIO (CNS) – A murder charge was filed Friday against a 38-year-old man accused of shooting a motorist found inside a crashed vehicle in Indio.
Miguel Mejia Cazarez of Indio was arrested Wednesday, a day after allegedly gunning down 39-year-old Jose Luis Villegas III of Mecca.
Along with the murder count, Cazarez is charged with misdemeanor hit- and-run and faces a sentence-enhancing allegation of discharging a firearm causing great bodily injury.
Cazarez, who’s being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, is scheduled to make his initial court appearance Tuesday via video conference before a judge at the Banning Justice Center.
Police were sent about 9:45 p.m. Tuesday to 82-045 Avenue 44 and found a vehicle crashed into the fence of a business, and the driver suffering from a fatal gunshot wound, according to Indio Police Department spokesman Ben Guitron.
According to Riverside County coroner’s officials, Villegas was shot in the 82-300 block of Ocotillo Avenue, down the street from where his vehicle crashed. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Homicide detectives determined the victim had been in a “confrontation” with Cazarez prior to the shooting, Guitron said, but did not elaborate.
Cazarez has no documented felony convictions in Riverside County, court records show.