A convicted felon and his two associates are slated to be sentenced Friday for attacking a man outside a Norco bar, culminating in the felon trying to shoot the victim as he fled the location.
Francisco Javier Paredes, 37, along with 29-year-old Daniel Anthony Florez and 34-year-old Michael Anthony Varela, pleaded guilty in January to felony charges stemming from the March 2018 shooting just off of Hamner Avenue, near Interstate 15.
Paredes admitted shooting at an occupied vehicle, gang activity and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Florez and Varela each admitted charges of engaging in gang activity.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge David Gunn is expected to impose a 16-year prison term on Paredes, while his two co-defendants are each facing 3-year terms.
Florez is free on a $1 million bond, while Paredes and Varela are each being held in lieu of $1 million at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, on the night of March 12, 2018, the trio, reputed members of the Mongols biker gang, were drinking at the pub when Florez and a patron, whose identity was not released, got into a dispute that spilled out into the parking lot. Florez punched the victim, who attempted to defend himself, at which point Varela joined his cohort, and both men began assaulting him, prosecutors allege.
Deputy District Attorney Mike Carney said that the victim was able to jump into his friend’s vehicle, and just as the motorist, who also was not identified, peeled out of the parking lot, Paredes emerged from the bar and fired three shots at the vehicle.
No one was struck by the gunfire.
The defendants immediately left the location, and the victim called 911.
In the ensuing six-week investigation, the trio were identified as the perpetrators, and anti-gang personnel served search and arrest warrants at their properties in Colton, Corona, Moreno Valley and other locations.
According to court records, Paredes has a prior conviction for robbery. No priors were listed for Florez and Varela in Riverside County.