SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — Three men Wednesday charged in the attempted murder of San Bernardino police Officer Gabriel Garcia pleaded not guilty.
Jonathan Contreras, Orlando Cruz and Gonzalo Medina were charged Tuesday with two counts each of attempted murder against a peace officer and one count each of possession of an assault weapon, even though they did not pull the trigger.
District Attorney Michael Ramos accused the three men of aiding and abetting 38-year-old Alex Alvarado in the shootout; however, details were not released of the suspects’ involvement.
“They were all together in a location in a vehicle,” said Ramos. “They all had knowledge of these weapons.”
Prosecutors said that Alvarado was the sole gunman in the shooting that critically injured Garcia.
KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen said defense attorney’s argue the charges don’t fit the crime.
Medina’s attorney said he is waiting for physical evidence to surface in the investigation.
“If he’s just there, that’s not aiding and abetting,” said Mark McDonald.
Garcia, 31, and an officer trainee were patrolling the 1900 block of Garner Avenue just after 2 a.m. Friday, when Alvarado opened fire on the officers, detectives said.
Alvarado was shot by Garcia’s partner and was transferred to a hospital where he died.
Garcia was shot once in the head and twice to his upper body. He remains at the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in a medically induced coma.
According to detectives, an AK-47 and a handgun with no markings on it were used by Alvarado in the shootout. The handgun is believed to have been what critically injured Garcia.
Nguyen spoke with Medina’s girlfriend, Andrea Valdez, outside of the courtroom Wednesday who said she does not believe the charges filed against him are correct.
“He’s not a bad person, he’s a really good person to everybody,” said Valdez.
Valdez, who has two sons with Medina, shared a message for the Garcia family with Nguyen.
“I do feel bad for his family, because I understand he has a kid,” said Valdez. “I feel for him because my kids are going through the same thing.”
All three men are expected to appear in court Sept. 5 and are being held without bail.