Felon accused of killing woman, wounding man to stand trial

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RIVERSIDE (CNS) – A convicted felon accused of fatally shooting his aunt and seriously wounding an acquaintance during a dispute at a family banquet in Riverside must stand trial on murder and other charges, a judge ruled Monday.

Abraham David Bonilla allegedly killed 39-year-old Beatrice Romo of Beaumont and shot her friend, identified in court documents only as “Tommy,” at the Elks Lodge on Brockton Avenue on June 30, 2018.

Following a preliminary hearing at the Riverside Hall of Justice, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Michael Kellogg found there was sufficient evidence to warrant a trial on the murder count, as well as charges of attempted murder, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.

The judge scheduled a post-preliminary hearing arraignment for Jan. 8 at the Riverside Hall of Justice. Bonilla is being held in lieu of $2 million bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.

According to Riverside police, the attack happened about 7 p.m. during a leased family event at the lodge. Investigators said Bonilla was among the attendees, and for several hours, nothing was out of order. But toward the end of the affair, for reasons unclear, an argument erupted between Bonilla and several others, at which point he allegedly brandished a .380 semiautomatic handgun at several partygoers, then opened fire, according to Sgt. Mike Crawford.

Romo and Tommy were struck, though investigators said it was not known whether the alleged shooter intended to target his aunt. Bonilla fled the location after the attack, Crawford alleged.

Relatives loaded both victims into separate cars and rushed them to Riverside Community Hospital moments before officers converged on the scene.

A few minutes later, officers learned that a man matching the alleged shooter’s description had been involved in a wreck in the area of Fremont Street and Jurupa Avenue and was receiving treatment from paramedics. Patrolmen went to the location and arrested Bonilla without a struggle, according to Crawford.

Romo died during surgery less than two hours later. Tommy also underwent an operation for a wound to the upper body, from which he has since recovered.

Court records show that Bonilla has prior convictions for assault with a deadly weapon and gang activity.