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Suspected Coachella gang member accused of shooting cousin

Alleged victim was shot in back of head

COACHELLA, Calif. - A Coachella Valley gang member who allegedly shot his cousin because he believed the man was speaking with law enforcement was in custody Tuesday on charges of attempted murder and assault with a semi-automatic firearm.

Fernando Carlos Lopez, 44, of Coachella, pleaded not guilty Monday to the felony charges stemming from the Nov. 4 shooting that left the victim hospitalized with a gunshot to the back of the head. Police said the man has been released from the hospital.

Lopez, also known by the gang moniker "Fernie,'' was arrested four days after the shooting on Calle Camacho in Coachella, according to jail records.

The charges he's facing would normally have him held on $1 million bail, but the amount was doubled at the request of police who argued that Lopez would pose a risk to the victim if freed.

Indio police Detective Jesse Marin wrote in a bail increase declaration that the defendant's cousin -- whose name was withheld -- was targeted because he was a gang member considered in "bad standing due to electing to become classified as `PC' (protective custody) usually working with 
law enforcement.''

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Marin wrote that Lopez, "a self-admitted 'OG' (senior member)'' of the gang, is "a direct family member to a local bail bonds agency'' employee or operator. The "unprovoked'' attack showed that the victim would face further danger if the defendant was freed, the detective said.

Lopez, who's being housed at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside, is due in court Nov. 22 for a felony settlement conference.

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