INDIO, Calif. - Two men suspected in a fatal gang-related shooting in Indio in late May appeared in court Tuesday.
Facing murder charges in the death of 37-year-old Douglas Yanez Jr. are Indio residents Steven Moses Rapan, 23, and Gary Griffin Ramirez, 21. A special circumstance allegation of murder for the benefit of a street gang makes them eligible for the death penalty if convicted.
Rapan was arrested Thursday, while Ramirez was taken into custody on June 11 and has pleaded not guilty. Both appeared in court Tuesday, but Rapan's arraignment was rescheduled to Friday and a felony settlement conference for Ramirez was pushed back to Aug. 11.
Yanez Jr. was found dead early May 28 near Kenner Street and Yucca Lane.
According to a declaration filed in support of an arrest warrant, a man told police that Ramirez and ``Ziggy'' -- Rapan's gang moniker -- ``accused him of not being down for the hood'' and started a fight with him after he refused to hang out with him, and Rapan fired at a truck the man left in.
The man got some friends together, including Yanez, to ``deal with'' Rapan and Ramirez, Indio Police Detective Jeremy Hellawell wrote in the declaration.
The witness alleged Yanez stopped his truck at Kenner and Yucca near Rapan and Ramirez, got out and was shot several times by Rapan.
Another person told police that the defendants believed the man they challenged to a fight was hiding someone who shot a friend of theirs. The witness alleged the defendants said they would wait in a park for the man to return, and when he did, Rapan shot him ``several times'' and Ramirez shot him at least twice.
The witness identified Rapan and Ramirez in a photographic lineup, according to the declaration.
Rapan, who was arrested on Clinton Street after being at large for more than a month, was also the subject of an arrest warrant for a concealed weapons violation, according to police.
Rapan and Ramirez are both being held without bail at the county jail in Indio.