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Cathedral City man charged with murder of Banning resident

A Cathedral City resident who allegedly gunned down a male friend of his girlfriend months ago in Banning is scheduled to make his initial court appearance Friday on a murder charge.

Ronald Dean Ricks, 31, was initially identified as a “person of interest” in the shooting death of 32-year-old Banning resident Michael Gordon. He was arrested Wednesday afternoon in Hemet and charged the same day with murder and discharging a firearm from a vehicle, according to jail and
court records.

About noon on Jan. 16, Ricks was seen driving a white Dodge Ram pickup truck past the home at 1296 Wyte Way where the shooting occurred, according to the arrest warrant declaration filed this week.

A witness told police she was at the home with Gordon when Ricks stopped the truck, smiled at her, then allegedly fired three gunshots.

According to her account, Gordon pushed her out of the way, but was hit and died at the scene.

The witness told police that the shooting “was over a girl,” later identified as Ricks’ girlfriend, according to the document, which does not elaborate on the alleged motive.

Ricks’ girlfriend also allegedly later made statements to another inmate while she was housed at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, in which she called the victim her “best friend” and said Ricks compared killing Gordon to “killing a cat,” the declaration states.

The truck was found the day after the shooting near First and West Wilson streets, a few blocks southeast of the Wyte Way home. Ricks’ fingerprints were found on the truck and gunshot residue was found on the driver’s side window frame, according to the declaration.

Ricks initially turned himself in at the San Jacinto sheriff’s station about a week after Banning police circulated photos of him and identified him as a “person of interest” in the shooting. He was booked on “an unrelated offense,” but police did not have enough evidence then to make an arrest.

Read: Banning homicide suspect turns self in to police

Ricks was being held without bail and was expected to make his initial court appearance Friday.

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