Young Duo Plead Not Guilty to Alleged Assault of Two People in Palm Desert

City News Service Pristine Villarreal

INDIO (CNS) – A pair of young men suspected of assaulting two people in Palm Desert, one of whom suffered a gunshot wound to his face, pleaded not guilty to attempted murder Thursday.

In addition to the attempted murder charge, Cathedral City residents Jorge Arturo Morales, 18, and Jaden Xavier Garcia, 19, were each charged with one felony count of assault with a semi-automatic firearm, according to court records. They also face sentence-enhancing allegations of using a firearm and discharging a firearm causing great bodily injury.

Morales faces an additional felony count of stalking.

They each pleaded not guilty to all their respective charges Thursday afternoon at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.

Deputies responded around 2:50 a.m. Tuesday to the 45300 block of Garden Square in Palm Desert to a report of an assault with a deadly weapon, according to Sgt. Daniel Milbrandt of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.. A pair of victims were allegedly followed by Morales and Garcia, whom they both knew.

“One victim was struck multiple times and sustained a single gunshot wound to his face,” Milbrandt said in a statement. “He was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The other victim, who was uninjured, had allegedly been stalked by Morales for several weeks before the assault.”

Morales and Garcia were apprehended in the 68700 block of 33rd Avenue in Cathedral City by Palm Desert sheriff’s station deputies, the Palm Desert Investigations Bureau, the Palm Desert Burglary Suppression Unit and the Desert Regional SWAT after allegedly attempting to flee a residence, according to Milbrandt.

Morales was being held at the John J. Benoit Detention Center in Indio on $1 million bail.

Garcia was being held at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning on $25,000 bail.

Anyone with additional information on the assault with a deadly weapon was asked to call Investigator Lugo at 760-836-1600.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

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