INDIO (CNS) – A 43-year-old man was accused of fatally shooting a man in Palm Springs whom he said had thrown rocks at him, an officer testified Friday during a preliminary hearing.
Jeffrey Burgess of Sky Valley is charged with one felony count of murder for the June 22, 2021 killing of 44-year-old Jose Sosa of Coachella and faces a sentence-enhancing allegation of discharging a firearm causing great bodily injury, according to court records.
During a preliminary hearing Friday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio, Palm Springs Police Department Officer Matthew Olson testified that when he responded to the scene, where he saw Sosa with gunshot wounds to his head, he was waved down by Burgess, who directed him to Sosa’s body.
“He had brain matter coming out of his head,” Olson said. “On the north side of the street, (Burgess) had several items within five feet from him on the floor. From what I remember, he had the upper receiver to a rifle with a flashlight attached to it, there was a folding knife that was open and a cell phone.”
When asked what happened, Burgess said that he got a notification from his surveillance camera and saw a shirtless man outside of his house spraying his camera with a garden hose, Olson alleged. So he got in his vehicle and drove from Sky Valley to the Palm Springs home to look for the man.
Burgess subsequently found him in front of another residence and yelled “What the F are you doing on my property?” in an attempt to scare him off, Olson alleged. The man then threw four rocks at Burgess, prompting him to go to his car, grab a handgun from under his driver’s seat and a magazine with bullets from his trunk.
“(Burgess) said that the male threw another rock at him and that Mr. Burgess attempted to detain him and that a struggle ensued … then, he said he shot the individual, but was surprised at first because he thought they were warning shots,” Olson alleged. “He stated that he was not sure where he was aiming but he knew he had a good backdrop and knew he wouldn’t hit any bystanders standing behind the male.”
The preliminary hearing was set to continue Monday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.
Burgess is free on bail.
According to the Palm Springs Police Department, Burgess called 911 and “reported being involved in a shooting” at the location. He was detained and questioned, and later taken into custody. No one else was injured, and there was no word on what precipitated the shooting.
Burgess has no documented felony convictions in Riverside County.
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