Two 19-year-old men accused in an armed robbery-turned-shooting that killed the proprietor of a Cathedral City convenience store were behind bars Tuesday in lieu of $1 million bail.
The accused shooter, Charles Lamar Campbell of Beaumont, and his alleged accomplice, Joel Ortiz-Hidalgo of Desert Hot Springs, were arrested and booked Monday into the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning on suspicion of murder.
Authorities allege Campbell gunned down 61-year-old Cathedral City resident Chris Sgouromitis on Feb. 21, while Ortiz-Hidalgo acted as the getaway driver.
“Over the last nine days, (police) detectives have worked tirelessly to identify and locate those responsible for the senseless shooting death of a father of four with strong local community ties, who was not involved in criminal activity and died in his long-time place of business,” according to a Cathedral City Police Department statement.
Police were sent to Outpost Market at 68171 Ramon Road about 9:15 p.m. Feb. 21 on an armed robbery report.
Patrol officers arrived and found the victim suffering from gunshot wounds. Despite first responders’ attempts to save him, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sgouromitis was popular in the community. The day after the shooting, community members cycled in and out of store paying their respects to the business owner and visiting a makeshift memorial nearby.
Police said help from residents was “critical” in tracking down the two suspects.
Campbell is expected to make his initial court appearance at the Larson Justice Center in Indio on Thursday, while Ortiz-Hidalgo could be brought before a judge as early as Wednesday, jail records show. Charges had not been filed by the Riverside County District’s Attorney’s Office as of midday Tuesday.
Neither man has any documented felony convictions in Riverside County.
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