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Man shot and killed near Twentynine Palms park, 18-year-old arrested


Update 5/23/24

The man killed in the shooting was identified as USMC Gunnery Sgt. Robert McDonald, 35, who was stationed at the Twentynine Palms base. He was a beloved member of the community, coaching a flag football team to a championship a month ago.

The suspect, Rudy Garcia Jr., 18, was charged with murder, attempted murder, attempted carjacking, attempted second-degree robbery, and assault with a semiautomatic firearm, in addition to special allegations. He is set to be arraigned on Friday.

Original Report 5/21/24

An 18-year-old was arrested following a shooting near a park in Twentynine Palms that left one man dead Monday night.

The incident started just before 8:00 p.m. when deputies were notified that approximately four to five subjects were drinking alcohol and causing a disturbance in the area of Alpine Road and Old Dale Road.

"A local resident spoke with the subjects who became confrontational," reads a press release by the Morongo Basin Sheriff's Station.

A short time later, one of the subjects, identified by investigators as an 18-year-old man from Twentynine Palms, fired several shots toward the resident.

The resident was not hit by the gunfire. The suspect ran toward the area of Knott Sky Park on El Sol Avenue, near Sullivan Road. The additional subjects left in a different direction and were not seen again.

Authorities said the 18-year-old approached a parked but occupied vehicle near a dog park at the intersection of El Sol Avenue and Foothill Drive.

The vehicle was occupied by Robert James McDonald, 35, of Twentynine Palms and his dog.

Without provocation, the 18-year-old fired his firearm into McDonald’s vehicle. McDonald was struck by the gunfire but attempted to drive away from the area.

"Moments later, McDonald’s lost control of his vehicle and collided into an occupied vehicle, parked along the street near Knott Sky Park,"

Deputies attempted life-saving measures, but McDonald was pronounced dead at the scene.

The occupants of the parked car sustained minor injuries.

The 18-year-old suspect fled the scene on foot but was located nearby by deputies and taken into custody. A handgun believed to have been used in the shooting was recovered in the area where the suspect was located.

He faces murder charges and was booked into the Morongo Basin jail, where he remains in custody in lieu of bail. He is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.

The Sheriff’s Specialized Investigations Division, Homicide Detail, responded and are conducting the investigation.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Detective Shawn Thurman, Specialized Investigations Division at (909) 890-4904. Callers can remain anonymous and contact We-Tip at 800 78CRIME or

Article Topic Follows: Crime

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Jesus Reyes


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