A 24-year-old probationer who allegedly joined two cohorts in a gang-related shooting that left a man dead and others wounded outside a Cathedral City strip club in 2018 made his first court appearance Wednesday since being extradited from Mexico and pleaded not guilty to a murder charge.
Guillermo Cintora Gomez of Coachella also denied a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait, which makes him eligible for the death penalty if District Attorney Mike Hestrin opts to pursue it.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Burke Strunsky denied bond for Gomez, who was extradited from Mexico earlier this month — nearly a year and a half after going on the lam. He is scheduled to return to court on May 15 for a felony settlement conference.
Gomez is accused, along with Christian Miramontes, 26, and Manuel Vargas, 31, in the shooting that killed 24-year-old Jason Rosas of Indio outside the Showgirls Gentlemen’s Club on June 13, 2018.
Miramontes and Vargas face additional charges, some of which came after the pair’s preliminary hearing last year — two additional special circumstance allegations each of discharging a firearm from a vehicle and being an active participant in a street gang, along with two counts each of attempted murder.
They also face a potential death sentence if the District Attorney decides to go that route.
Gomez was arrested in Michoacan, Mexico, where he has family, in early March. U.S. marshals coordinated with Mexican state police to make the arrest, according to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
The defendants, Rosas and two other men got into a fight inside the club that spilled out to the parking lot about 2 a.m., according to Cathedral City police. The participants were identified as “two groups of rival gang members” by former police Chief Travis Walker.
According to an arrest warrant declaration, witnesses stated that the men were flashing gang tattoos at each other inside the club. Court documents state that they were from gangs operating within the Coachella Valley.
After being kicked out of the club by security, the defendants allegedly went to Gomez’s 2016 Jeep Wrangler and retrieved handguns. Miramontes and Vargas allegedly fired at the rival gang members, and the trio fled in Gomez’s Jeep, which was later found abandoned, according to the declaration.
All three victims were taken to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, where Rosas later died. The other two victims, identified only as 28-year-old men, recovered from their wounds, police said.
Miramontes and Vargas are also in custody without bail, and their tentative trial date is April 21.
Court records show that Gomez has a prior misdemeanor conviction for driving on a suspended license.
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