A convicted felon accused of gunning down an 18-year-old man and wounding a 19-year-old man during an attack in Coachella on Tuesday, November 11, has been charged with multiple felonies including murder.
Detectives from the Central Homicide Unit and Thermal Station arrested 31-year-old Conrad Diaz on Friday, November 14. Diaz was arrested at his home in Coachella and was booked at the Riverside County jail in Indio.
In an interesting turn of events, the sheriff’s department released information Monday morning saying the 19-year-old who was wounded in the shooting has also been arrested.
Thomas Gonzalez of Coachella was taken into custody on Friday, November 21. He was arrested at a hospital where he’d been receiving treatment since the murder occurred. Deputies said he was arrested on allegations of murder and five counts of attempted murder.
The Riverside County Coroner’s Office identified the 18-year-old shooting victim as Jose Luis Zaragoza of Thermal. He died at JFK Memorial Hospital in the emergency room.
According to court documents, Conrad Diaz is also charged with four counts of attempted murder, as well as a special circumstance allegation of committing a murder in a drive-by shooting, which could make him eligible for the death penalty, if he’s convicted and prosecutors decide to pursue the ultimate punishment.
The sheriff’s department said the November 11 shooting happened shortly before 7 p.m. in the 52300 block of Tripoli Way near Cairo Street. The neighborhood is just east of Harrison Street. Deputies said the gunfight spread across several blocks in the area.
Zaragoza was killed in the shooting and Thomas Gonzalez was wounded.
A possible motive for the shootings was not disclosed. Sheriff’s homicide detectives identified Diaz as the alleged perpetrator soon afterward, and he was arrested without incident on Shadowrock Drive in Coachella.
He’s being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Indio Jail. According to court records, Diaz has prior felony convictions for spousal abuse and illegal possession of an assault weapon.
It’s unclear when he will return to court.
News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 were at the scene the night of the shooting and counted at least three crime scenes that were taped-off, with shell casings spread across the area.
Many people nearby didn’t want to talk about the shooting, saying they feared retaliation.
Certain roads were shut down in the area while police were on scene.