A felon who fired a handgun inside a Desert Hot Springs home occupied by children, then held law enforcement officers at bay for several hours, entered into a plea deal Wednesday.
Juan Gonzalez Jr., 48, of Desert Hot Springs, pleaded guilty to one count each of assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer and assault with a semi-automatic firearm, according to John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
One count each of discharge of a firearm in a negligent manner and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and three counts of willful child cruelty will be dismissed as part of the plea deal, Hall said.
Gonzalez remains in custody at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning in lieu of $235,000 bail pending his sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for Sept. 10, at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.
The defendant was arrested on March 12, 2019, in the 67600 block of San Gorgonio Street. According to Riverside County sheriff’s Deputy Mike Vasquez, deputies were sent to back up Desert Hot Springs police around 1:45 a.m. that day after witnesses reported a man was inside shooting a weapon “while family members, including children, were present.”
Once on scene, law enforcement personnel surrounded the residence and confirmed six people were inside the house, according to Vasquez.
Around 5 a.m., members of the sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau “conducted a rescue of a family member within the residence and took the suspect into custody,” he said. At least one deputy fired a weapon at some point during the standoff, but nobody was hurt.
Gonzalez has a documented felony conviction in Riverside County for assault with a deadly weapon.
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