A Cathedral City resident who allegedly gunned down a male friend of his girlfriend in Banning must stand trial on a murder charge, a judge ruled Thursday.

Ronald Dean Ricks, 32, is accused in the Jan. 16, 2017, shooting death of 32-year-old Banning resident Michael Gordon, who police found lying in the street in front of 1296 Wyte Way at around noon.

Shortly after the shooting, Ricks turned himself in at the San Jacinto sheriff’s station after Banning police circulated photos of him and identified him as a “person of interest” in the shooting. However, he was only held on an unrelated offense and was not charged with Gordon’s murder until last December, when he was taken into custody in Hemet.

Police say that on Jan. 16, Ricks was seen driving a white Dodge Ram pickup truck past the Wyte Way home where the shooting occurred, according to an arrest warrant declaration.

A witness told police she was at the home with Gordon when Ricks stopped the truck, smiled at her, then allegedly fired three gunshots. According to her account, Gordon pushed her out of the way, but was hit and died at the scene.

The witness told police that the shooting “was over a girl,” later identified as Ricks’ girlfriend, according to the document, which does not elaborate on the alleged motive.

While Ricks’ girlfriend was housed at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning for unknown reasons, she allegedly made statements to another inmate, in which she called the victim her “best friend” and said Ricks compared killing Gordon with “killing a cat,” the declaration states.

The truck was found the day after the shooting near First and West Wilson streets, a few blocks southeast of the Wyte Way home. Ricks’ fingerprints were found on the truck and gunshot residue was found on the driver’s side window frame, according to the declaration.

Ricks, being held without bail, will return to court June 28 for a post-preliminary hearing arraignment.

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