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Gang Members Plead Guilty in Shooting that Paralyzed Man

Bryan Gonzalez, 20, pleaded guilty to a felony count of assault likely to cause great bodily injury, and Jaime Moreno, 16, pleaded guilty to one count each of assault with a deadly weapon and participating in a criminal street gang.

Two gang members pleaded guilty Friday to charges stemming from a fight which led to a shooting that left a young man paralyzed at a Desert Hot Springs house party last Halloween.

Bryan Gonzalez, 20, pleaded guilty to a felony count of assault likely to cause great bodily injury, and Jaime Moreno, 16, pleaded guilty to one count each of assault with a deadly weapon and participating in a criminal street gang.

Both defendants were originally charged with attempted murder.

The Desert Hot Springs residents are scheduled to be sentenced on July 18 -- Gonzalez to 10 years in prison and Moreno to nearly three years behind bars, according to court records.

Co-defendant Jeremy Castro, 27, of Cathedral City, is charged with attempted murder and other counts in the Oct. 31 shooting at Desert View Road and Via Real. Castro has a preliminary hearing scheduled for tomorrow, according to court records.

Moreno, Gonzalez and Castro are all members of the West Drive Locos gang, according to a declaration filed in support of an arrest warrant.

The victim, Cesar Torres, was attending a large Halloween party at a residence in the 65800 block of Desert View when Gonzalez, who he knew from school, confronted him, according to police.

"Gonzalez ... came up to him and said, 'What's up, you trippin', this is West, dog.' Torres told Gonzalez to leave and that he doesn't 'bang' (gang bang)," according to the declaration prepared by Desert Hot Springs police Detective Mike Chilner.

A fight broke out between a friend of Torres and another West Drive Locos gang member. Torres tried to help his friend, and Moreno allegedly tried to punch him with brass knuckles. Gonzalez was also involved in the fight, according to the declaration.

"It was during the fight that Torres was shot by Castro," Chilner alleged.

Castro, Gonzalez and Moreno fled together, and responding police officers found Torres with a gunshot wound to the upper body in the residence's backyard. He survived but was left paralyzed from the waist down, according to police.

Early on Nov. 2, two days after the shooting, a police officer saw Castro throw a handgun into the backyard of a residence on Caliente Drive. The gun matched the description of the weapon used to shoot Torres, Chilner wrote.

Castro was arrested that day. He said he was at the party but left before the shooting, according to the declaration.

Moreno was arrested in December and Gonzalez in January.

– City News Service.



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