Murder and attempted murder charges were filed Monday against a documented gang member accused in the shooting death of a 42-year-old Riverside man caught in the crossfire during a drive-by attack.
Isaiah Jahfaree Lewis, 18, of Colton was arrested Thursday following a weeks-long Riverside police investigation into the March 20 slaying of Oran Wheaton Esclovon.
Along with murder and attempted murder, Lewis faces sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations, as well as allegations of discharging a firearm from a moving vehicle and committing a violent felony for the benefit of a criminal street gang.
He’s being held in lieu of $2 million bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside and is slated to make his initial court appearance Tuesday at the Riverside Hall of Justice.
According to Riverside police Officer Ryan Railsback, Esclovon was visiting with several acquaintances in the Eastside neighborhood near UC Riverside when the defendant drove by and allegedly opened fire with a semiautomatic handgun about 6 p.m.
Esclovon was hit, along with Alijah Benson of Riverside, who was allegedly the intended target, according to court papers.
“It was determined Esclovon was not part of any gang, nor was he the intended target in the shooting,” Railsback said.
Both Esclovon and Benson were loaded into a vehicle by friends and taken to Riverside Community Hospital, where Esclovon died a short time later. He left behind eight children and six grandchildren, according to Railsback.
Benson recovered from his gunshot wound.
Homicide detectives, with assistance from the FBI and U.S. Marshals, ultimately identified Lewis as the alleged gunman, Railsback said.
He said the defendant was located at an apartment on East Santo Antonio Drive in Colton, where he was taken into custody without a struggle Friday morning.
Lewis has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.