INDIO, Calif. - An arraignment hearing was postponed Tuesday for three of four men charged with murder in the drive-by shooting death of an Indio resident to allow one of the defendants to secure legal representation.
Angel Lopez, 28, Andrew Marquie Malanche, 25, and Jose Antonio Armendariz, 32, are accused, along with a fourth man, in the shooting death of Adrian Valdez, 22, of Indio. The fourth suspect, Cesar Monzon Jr., 26, has not been captured.
The three suspects in custody are now scheduled to make their initial court appearances on Aug. 30.
The trio, along with fugitive Cesar Monzon Jr., are each charged with murder, gang activity and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. A special circumstance allegation that the crime was committed for the benefit of a gang makes them potentially eligible for the death penalty if convicted.
Valdez was found at 12:43 a.m. Aug. 7 in the 82600 block of Mountain View Avenue and died at Desert Regional Medical Center about four hours after being brought to the hospital.
A declaration filed in support of an arrest warrant alleges the suspects fired on Valdez and others from a Chevrolet Caprice and a Toyota Sequoia, but were met with return fire. Surveillance footage from an Indio 7-Eleven store and from Mountain View Avenue show the occupants of the Chevy and Toyota congregating and then traveling to the scene of the shooting, according to police.
A security camera from a nearby home captured both cars heading west on Mountain View Avenue and making a U-turn, then gunfire coming from the Toyota's driver and passenger side windows.
According to police, Lopez and Malanche showed up at Indio's JFK Memorial Hospital that day, both with gunshot wounds. Malanche was hospitalized with a single gunshot wound, deemed ``serious,'' while Lopez was grazed by a bullet on his left side.
Hospital security told police that upon arrival, Lopez was seen taking a backpack from the Chevy and hiding it near the north side of the emergency room. Police found the backpack, with two handguns and 40 rounds of ammunition inside.
Lopez told police that he was inside the Caprice during the shooting, but did not admit to shooting Valdez, the declaration states. He was initially arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, as well as a probation violation, after he was discharged from the hospital.
Malanche told detectives that he was driving near Mountain View Avenue with Lopez that night when they were fired upon. Malanche said he was ``scared'' and fired six shots from his .38 caliber revolver in retaliation. He also said Lopez fired six to eight shots from a .22 caliber pistol, according to the declaration.
Malanche was arrested on Aug. 18 following his recovery from the wound he suffered in the shooting. Armendariz was arrested after police found that the Toyota was registered to an Indio woman, who told police that Armendariz usually drove the car, according to the declaration.
Police found Armendariz at the woman's home on Aug. 8 and arrested him on an outstanding warrant alleging assault with a deadly weapon. Police said Armendariz refused to speak with detectives about the shooting, but a warrant was served to search the Toyota. Three bullet holes
were seen on the outside of the car and .22 caliber and .38 caliber ammunition was found inside.
Detectives were tipped to Monzon's alleged involvement after a parole officer told them that Monzon had cut off his GPS ankle monitor on the night of the shooting, the declaration states. His movements just prior to the shooting brought him to within 40 yards of the Mountain View Avenue residence, according to the declaration.
The parole officer told police that the ankle bracelet was removed shortly after 12:50
Indio police continue to search for Monzon, who is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who sees him should call 911 immediately, police said.
August 16: Three suspects in custody while police search for one more
The Indio Police Department arrested three suspects and is searching for one more in connection to a deadly shooting that occurred on Sunday, August 7.
According to authorities, detectives found incriminating evidence against the following four suspects:
- 28-year-old Angel Lopez of Indio, who was already in custody on previous charges;
- 32-year-old Jose Armendariz of Indio, who was arrested on August 8 at about 5:14 p.m. during a traffic stop in which Armendariz was the passenger;
- 25-year-old Andrew Malanche of Indio, who is currently hospitalized in stable condition;
- Authorities are still searching for 26-year-old Cesar Monzon of Indio. His current whereabouts are unknown and police said he should be considered armed and dangerous. Do not attempt to contact Monzon, call 911 immediately.
If anyone has information about the shooting or the suspect police are searching for, you're asked to call the Indio Police Department.
8-12 Update: The Riverside County Coroner's Department has released the name of the man shot and killed in Indio on August 7th. The man has been identified as 22-year old Adrian Valdez, of Indio.
Detectives investigating weekend gunfire that left an Indio man dead and two others injured were working ``several leads'' Monday, according to a police spokesman.
Riverside County firefighters found a gunshot victim at 12:43 a.m. Sunday in the 82600 block of Mountain View Avenue in Indio, Cmdr. Henk Peeters said. The unidentified 22-year-old man was taken to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, where he died of his injuries at 4:55 a.m. Sunday, according to the county coroner's office.
Two other men with gunshot wounds showed up at a separate hospital that same day, Peeters said. One man sustained serious injuries, but was expected to survive, while the other man, Angel Lopez, 28, had minor injuries. All three men were believed to have been involved in the same shooting, Peeters said.
Lopez, when discharged from the hospital, was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, as well as a probation violation. Police did not say whether Lopez was believed to be involved in the shooting outside of sustaining a gunshot wound.
Detectives from Indio's Major Crimes and Street Crimes units were investigating the homicide.
Anyone with information into the shooting was asked to contact the Indio Police Department at (760) 391-4057 or the Coachella Valley Crime Stoppers at (760) 341-7867 to report anonymously.