INDIO, Calif. - A documented gang member apprehended in Mexico a week after he allegedly shot a sheriff's deputy in Coachella must stand trial on numerous felony charges, including attempted murder, a judge ruled today.
Gildardo Davila Jr., 28, was taken into custody in Mexicali on suspicion of shooting Deputy David Solis, who was hospitalized for several days as a result of five gunshot wounds to his left hand, stomach and chest.
Davila faces at least 45 years to life in prison if convicted of attempted murder on a peace officer, assault with a deadly weapon, evading arrest, possession of controlled substances and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
Solis attempted to stop Davila about 7:45 p.m. last May 25 near Harrison and First streets for "numerous vehicle code violations,'' but the driver sped off, according to the sheriff's department. Davila allegedly tossed a handgun from the vehicle as he was being pursued, and Solis' supervisor quickly called off the chase for safety reasons.
The deputy later spotted Davila's car elsewhere in Coachella, prompting the suspect to flee on foot, according to a declaration in support of an arrest warrant.
Solis pursued Davila into an open field, where Davila allegedly shot the deputy with a Smith & Wesson 9mm, later found in the field.
A duffel bag containing a rifle, along with more than 200 grams of methamphetamine and over 30 grams of heroin, was also found in the field, according to court documents.
Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff said Solis was struck in the left hand, leaving some of his fingers "badly damaged,'' and also was hit in the belly, though that round struck his bullet-resistant vest. Another round hit him in the chest just above the vestline. Solis has since returned to work full-
time and received a proclamation from the city of Coachella.
Davila fled to a nearby home where the 5-foot-9, 200-pound suspect allegedly discarded some of his clothing, including pants with about 13 grams of heroin found in one of the pockets, according to sheriff's officials.
After a week on the lam, Mexican authorities captured Davila in Mexicali and turned him over to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department's Fugitive Warrant Enforcement Team at the border.
Davila remains in custody on $5 million bail, and is due back in court March 23 for a post-preliminary hearing arraignment.