A man who accidentally shot himself during an alleged attempt to kill a black employee at a Desert Hot Springs auto parts store will return to court next month after jurors were unable to reach a verdict in his attempted murder trial.
Desert Hot Springs police say Rudy Arana, 20, brought a sawed-off shotgun to an Autozone store on March 30, 2017, and following a tussle with the employee that brought both men to the ground, shot himself in the lower body.
He was charged with attempted murder, as well as hate crime and gang-related allegations. After about a week of trial, jurors on Tuesday said they were unable to reach a verdict, leading Riverside County Superior Court Judge Timothy J. Hollenhorst to declare a mistrial.
Prosecutors allege that Arana arrived at the store before it opened that morning and briefly confronted the employee in the Autozone parking lot.
The employee told Arana to leave, but the defendant allegedly returned a short time later and asked other employees where the victim was, while calling himself an N-word “killer,” according to court documents.
After continuing to loiter near the store, Arana saw the employee he was seeking when the worker left the store to take out the trash, according to prosecutors.
The victim allegedly saw Arana pull a sawed-off, 20-gauge shotgun from his waistband, leading to a struggle for control of the weapon, prosecutors said.
During the struggle, Arana allegedly cursed at the employee and referred to him using the N-word, saying, “I’m going to kill you” and again calling himself an N-word “killer,” according to prosecutors.
Two shots were fired, one of which struck the defendant’s lower body. Desert Hot Springs police officers found the men still tussling when they arrived at the store, prosecutors said.
Arana was taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries and was later placed under arrest. No one else was injured in the shooting.