Man Pleads Not Guilty In Connection With Inland Empire Shooting Spree

SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — A Redlands man charged in a string of Inland Empire shootings that left one person dead and wounded three others, including a sheriff’s deputy, pleaded not guilty Monday.

Kenneth Scott Welch, 37, faces charges including one count of first degree murder with the special circumstance of shooting from a motor vehicle, one count of attempted murder of a police officer and two counts of shooting at an occupied vehicle using a firearm and causing great bodily injury.

Welch was arrested Thursday, about an hour after allegedly shooting a San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy at a Chevron gas station in Hesperia. The bullet hit the deputy in the chest, but the deputy’s body armor saved his life.  The deputy said he did not return fire.

Welch is accused of beating and robbing a gas station clerk before the shooting, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said.

Welch is also accused of killing 48-year-old Mario Figueroa on Wednesday. Welch allegedly followed Figueroa off the freeway until Figueroa parked his car on a street. As Figueroa exited the vehicle, Welch shot him once in the head, authorities said.

Authorities say Welch also fired at two cars he randomly targeted on the 210 Freeway on Tuesday, injuring two people.

“There’s nothing that’s telling at this point as to why he went after these victims,” McMahon said at a news conference Friday morning. “It appears at this point to just be random.”

Welch’s arraignment was held Monday morning at Victorville Superior Court.

His next scheduled court appearance is March 28.

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