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Crime

Unlicensed bail agent accused in deadly Palm Springs shooting appears in court

Rebecca Johnson

An unlicensed bail agent accused of gunning down a knife-wielding fugitive in front of Palm Springs police officers made his initial court appearance today, but did not enter a plea.

Fabian Hector Herrera, 36, was arrested Friday on suspicion of shooting 33-year-old David Spann at 1:50 a.m. that day at a residence in the 100 block of East Via Escuela, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's
Department.

Along with murder, Herrera is charged with being a convicted felon in possession of both a gun and ammunition, both felonies. He also faces a felony charge of possessing body armor with a previous violent felony conviction, along with multiple sentence-enhancing allegations.

Herrera appeared via video conference at the Banning Justice Center before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Alfonso Fernandez, who set the defendant's bail at $2 million and rescheduled arraignment for Friday.

Herrera, who remains held at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside, faces a potential life sentence if convicted as charged.

Sheriff's Sgt. Richard Carroll said that although Spann was wanted by a bail agency, there was no warrant for his arrest issued by a law enforcement agency.

Herrera, meanwhile, was "not properly licensed'' as a bail agent and was prohibited from possessing firearms due to his criminal history, sheriff's officials said.

Authorities on Tuesday circulated a photo of 53-year-old Lisa Vargas, who is accused of providing unspecified help to Herrera prior to the shooting.

An arrest warrant has been issued for her capture.

Deputies were sent to the Via Escuela location regarding a panic alarm that was followed by a second call from the homeowner who said someone was trying to break into his residence. Moments later, a bail agent later identified as Herrera called police to let them know he was at the scene trying to arrest a fugitive and the suspect was holding a knife, according to the Palm Springs Police Department.

Officers arrived and contacted the suspect, who had a knife and refused orders to comply, prompting an officer to use a stun gun on the man, but he continued to defy officers' orders, police said.

Herrera then allegedly shot the man, who was pronounced dead at the scene despite life-saving measures performed by first responders, according to police.

No Palm Springs police officers fired a weapon, officials said.

Because Palm Springs police were present during the shooting, investigators from the Riverside County Sheriff's Force Investigations Detail were called in to assist in the investigation.

Herrera has at least two prior felony convictions, both for assault with a deadly weapon, one in Los Angeles County and the other in Riverside County, court records show.

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