Trial set in Cathedral City party shooting case

INDIO, Calif. - An Aug. 26 trial date was set today for a man accused of fatally shooting a woman and wounding two men after being denied entry to a Cathedral City house party.

Gabriel Cuevas Cardoza, 33, also faces weapons and drug charges in a separate case. Cardoza was free on $100,000 bail in that case when he allegedly shot and killed 52-year-old Mary Ellen Rodriguez and wounded two men during a party on April 2, 2011.

Police allege Cardoza arrived, uninvited, to a neighbor's residence in the Dream Homes housing project, and when he was turned away, opened fire with a handgun, hitting Rodriguez and the other victims. The mother of nine and grandmother of 11 died at the scene.

While walking back to his home, Cardoza met up with his 34-year-old brother, Guillermo Cardoza, and the pair headed north on San Antonio Drive, tailed by two partygoers in a white car, according to Cathedral City police Lt. Charles Robinson. He said the driver intentionally plowed into the brothers, and then both occupants of the vehicle opened fire.

Guillermo Cardoza died at the scene. His sibling was seriously injured and spent more than a month recuperating in a hospital.

Gabriel Cardoza is charged with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. He is separately charged with 13 counts ranging from possessing and selling drugs to being a felon in possession of a gun and resisting arrest in connection with seizures of alleged contraband at his mother's Cathedral City property last August.

He remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bail.

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