Coachella Teen Suspected in Shooting Pleads Not Guilty to Attempted Murder

City News Service Pristine Villarreal

INDIO (CNS) – A 19-year-old man suspected of shooting at two Coachella teenagers pleaded not guilty Monday to attempted murder.

Salomon “Bookie” Cruz-Rodriguez Jr. is accused with 24-year-old David “Real Shooter” Rodriguez of attempted murder in connection with the parking lot shooting on Feb. 17, according to a declaration in support of arrest warrant filed by Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Michael McTigue.

McTigue said he responded to the shooting in the parking lot between two businesses in the 49000 block of Grapefruit Boulevard in Coachella to several reports of subjects arguing and shooting at each other. When deputies arrived on the scene, they found various 9mm and .22-caliber spent casings.

A victim in the shooting said he and a friend were exiting a buffet restaurant when they heard a car door slam and saw gang members Cruz-Rodriguez, Rodriguez, and a third unknown male, according to McTigue. Cruz-Rodriguez and the unidentified male were clutching what the victim believed to be firearms, so he ran away from the suspects through the parking lot.

“When (the victim) ran away, he heard 6-7 gunshots immediately behind him and heard bullets ‘wiz’ past him,” McTigue wrote in the affidavit. “He heard the bullets impact the ground and a wall near him as he ran.”

The uninjured victim said he didn’t see anyone else who could have shot at him, but was in fear of his life thinking that they were trying to kill him. His friend ran away in a separate direction.

During the investigation, the victims were identified as 16-year-old and 17-year-old residents of Coachella.

Cruz-Rodriguez Jr. was arrested Thursday with an unidentified 14-year- old juvenile, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. Rodriguez has a warrant out for his arrest.

Cruz-Rodriguez Jr. was booked at the John Benoit Detention Center in Indio, where he remains held on $1 million bail. The 14-year-old juvenile was booked at the Juvenile Hall on suspicion of attempted murder.

The sheriff’s Thermal station Special Investigations Unit asked anyone with information about the case to contact McTigue at 760-863-2813. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Valley Crime Stoppers at 760-341-7867.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

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