Jury selection resumed Thursday in the trial of a reputed high-ranking Coachella Valley gang member accused of shooting and wounding his cousin in Indio.
Fernando Carlos Lopez, 46, of Coachella was arrested four days after allegedly shooting Gabriel Arevalos in the back of the head on Nov. 4, 2017.
Lopez, who remains in custody at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning on $2 million bail, is charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, along with several gun-related sentence-enhancing allegations. He could be sentenced to 50 years to life in state prison if convicted as charged.
The shooting occurred about 4:20 p.m. at 44372 Cassia Drive in Indio, according to a trial brief authored by Deputy District Attorney Steven Sorensen.
According to Sorensen, the shooting was initiated by an outstanding debt over cigarettes.
But Indio Police Department Detective Jesse Marin wrote in a bail-increase declaration that the victim was targeted because he was a gang member considered in “bad standing” because he chose to “become classified as `PC’ (protective custody) — usually working with law enforcement.”
The prosecutor’s trial brief mentions that Arevalos is a “drop out,” or former member, of the gang, but makes no reference to allegations that Lopez targeted him because he was speaking with law enforcement.
Lopez, also known by the gang moniker “Fernie,” is a senior member of a street gang based in Coachella, Marin wrote.
According to prosecutors, after shooting his cousin in the head, Lopez attempted to shoot him again while Arevalos was on the ground, but the gun jammed.
Arevalos was hospitalized but survived his injuries, police said.
According to prosecutors, after initially lying about the incident, Arevalos told police in the hospital that it was his cousin who shot him.
The trial brief indicates Arevalos may be called by prosecutors to testify.
After being taken into custody, Lopez allegedly confessed to the shooting but claimed it was an accident, according to court papers.
Lopez has previous documented felony convictions in Riverside County including burglary and domestic violence.
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