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Fugitive Palm Desert Shooting Supsect Due in Court This Week

The fugitive was caught in Northern California on Jan. 12.

Booking photo of William Oliver Sumpter Jr., 28, released by Humboldt County Sheriff's Department, via KIEM-TV News Channel 3 in Eureka, Calif.
Booking photo of William Oliver Sumpter Jr., 28, released by Humboldt County Sheriff's Department, via KIEM-TV News Channel 3 in Eureka, Calif.

By City News Service

A 28-year-old former Yucca Valley resident accused of shooting a man on his way to a party in Palm Desert more than two years ago — leaving him paralyzed — and threatening a witness is due in court this week.

William Oliver Sumpter Jr. was arrested Jan. 12 in the Garberville area — roughly 40 miles south of Eureka in Humboldt County — on a warrant stemming from the Aug. 26, 2011, shooting that left 35-year-old Juan Eliasarrars paralyzed from the chest down and confined to a wheelchair, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

Sumpter was charged Dec. 16, 2013, with one count each of attempted murder and intimidation of a witness. Humboldt County deputies made a traffic stop and learned he was wanted on the Riverside County warrant.

Sumpter was booked into a Humboldt County jail and brought back to the Coachella Valley on Friday. He's being held at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in lieu of $1 million bail, with arraignment scheduled Wednesday at Indio's Larson Justice Center, according to jail records.

The 2011 shooting was reported shortly after 10 p.m. near California Avenue and Fred Waring Drive. Eliasarrars, an Indio resident, was targeted while walking to a house party in the area with a 21-year-old La Quinta woman, according to the sheriff's department.

According to a declaration filed in support of an arrest warrant, Eliasarrars said he'd gotten into a fight with Sumpter on a party bus. A woman on the bus told authorities she saw the fight, "saw flames come out of the end of a gun, heard gunshot, and saw (the suspect) walk back onto the bus."

Eliasarrars was shot four times and said his back was turned when he was attacked. It was unclear how much earlier the fight occurred or when he'd gotten off the bus. He was initially uncooperative with authorities, but eventually he and others identified Sumpter as the alleged shooter, according to the declaration.

The woman on the bus said Sumpter "told her she better not snitch and threatened her life if she did." She told an investigator "she was willing to testify to what she witnessed ... because she felt the person who did this should be held responsible," the declaration stated.

The woman who was with Eliasarrars also identified Sumpter as the alleged shooter and said the attack left the victim "bloody and dying in the street," according to the declaration.


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