A 19-year-old man accused of gunning down the popular proprietor of a Cathedral City convenience store during a robbery is scheduled to make his initial court appearance Friday.
Charles Lamar Campbell of Beaumont, and his alleged accomplice, 19-year-old Joel Ortiz-Hidalgo of Desert Hot Springs, were arrested Monday in connection with the fatal shooting of 61-year-old Cathedral City resident Chris Sgouromitis on Feb. 21.
Both men are charged with one count each of murder and attempted robbery. They additionally each face a special-circumstance allegation of killing in the commission of a robbery.
Campbell, who remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bail at Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, is scheduled to be arraigned Friday afternoon at the Banning Justice Center. Ortiz-Hidalgo, who remains jailed without bail, pleaded not guilty to his charges Thursday.
Authorities say Campbell gunned down Sgouromitis while Ortiz-Hidalgo acted as the getaway driver.
Police were sent to Outpost Market at 68171 Ramon Road at about 9:15 p.m. on 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, Sgouromitis was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sgouromitis was popular in the community. The day after the shooting, community members cycled in and out of the store paying their respects to the business owner and visiting a makeshift memorial nearby. According to police, he was a “father of four with strong local community ties, who was not involved in criminal activity and died in his longtime place of business.”
Police said help from residents was “critical” in tracking down the two suspects.
Neither man has any documented felony convictions in Riverside County.
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