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Man suspected in Cathedral City Dollar Tree shooting pleads not guilty


A man suspected of shooting at and pistol whipping an 18-year-old customer at a Dollar Tree in Cathedral City re-entered not guilty pleas today to felony charges.

David Anthony William Garcia, 21, of Desert Hot Springs is charged with two felony counts of attempted murder and one felony count of assault with a gun, according to court records. He initially pleaded not guilty to the charges June 21, but had his case consolidated with Leah Lelani Lopez, 18, of San Jacinto, who was also charged in connection to the confrontation.   

After the case was consolidated with Lopez's on Thursday, Garcia pleaded not guilty to the charges at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.   

Lopez faces one felony count each of attempted murder and assault on a person causing great bodily injury, according to court records. She additionally faces a sentence-enhancing allegation of being armed with a firearm.  

About 3:30 p.m. June 4, a Cathedral City resident inside the store was allegedly confronted by Garcia, who allegedly took out a firearm, according to Sgt. Jeffrey Barnett of the Cathedral City Police Department.

When the victim tried to lunge for the firearm, a fight ensued, according to Barnett, who added that women who were with him allegedly assisted Garcia in the fight.

"After fighting over the gun for approximately two to three (minutes), the suspects and victim reached a stalemate and agreed to stop fighting,'' Barnett said in a statement. "The victim attempted to shake the
suspect's hand, but the suspect retrieved the gun out of his pants and attempted to shoot the victim at point blank range."  

Initially, the gun did not work and the two briefly fought over a magazine that fell out of the gun, according to Barnett. During the scuffle, the victim was pistol-whipped in the head and ran out of the store. As he ran out, Garcia followed and allegedly fired several rounds that struck him.

The victim was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and was expected to make a full recovery, CCPD Sgt. Nate Hanley told City News Service.

Garcia and Lopez were subsequently identified as the suspects in the confrontation and shooting, Barnett said.   

Lopez was arrested June 4 and was booked into the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, where she remains held on $1 million bail, according to inmate records. Garcia was arrested June 15 and was booked into the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta, where he remains held on $110,000 bail.

Anyone with information was asked to call CCPD Det. Sgt. Nate Hanley at 760-770-0328 or Coachella Valley Crime Stoppers at 760-341-7867(STOP).

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Article Topic Follows: Crime

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