A documented gang member accused of killing a 42-year-old Riverside man who apparently wasn’t the intended target of the drive-by attack made his initial court appearance Tuesday and was ordered held without bail.
Isaiah Jahfaree Lewis, 18, of Colton was arrested Thursday following a five-week Riverside police investigation into the slaying of Oran Wheaton Esclovon.
Lewis is charged with murder and attempted murder, as well as sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations, and allegations of discharging a firearm from a moving vehicle and committing a violent felony for the benefit of a criminal street gang.
He appeared before Riverside County Superior Court Judge David Gunn, who appointed him a public defender and scheduled his arraignment for May 11 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 on March 20.
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. He was taken into custody without incident at an apartment on East Santo Antonio Drive in Colton.
Lewis has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.