Man accused of murder in Mecca shooting to stand trial

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INDIO (CNS) – A suspect accused of fatally shooting a 40-year-old man during a confrontation in Mecca must stand trial for murder and other offenses, a judge ruled today.

Gilbert Contreras Martinez, 31, allegedly killed Hugo Nunez in April 2018.

Following a preliminary hearing this morning in Indio, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Johnnetta Anderson ruled there was sufficient evidence to warrant a trial on the murder count, as well as being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.

Anderson scheduled a post-preliminary hearing arraignment for Nov. 1 at the Larson Justice Center. Martinez is being held without bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.

According to sheriff’s officials, Martinez allegedly confronted Nunez in the 91000 block of Fifth Street, near Lincoln Street, on the night of April 8, 2018. For reasons not disclosed, Martinez shot the victim multiple times with a handgun, then fled the area, investigators allege.

Witnesses called 911, and Nunez was taken to a Coachella Valley trauma
center, where he died later that night.

Detectives immediately identified Martinez as the alleged gunman, but he eluded capture for a year.

Deputies spotted Martinez driving in the area of South Balboa Street and Westerfield Way in Coachella on April 6, 2019, where he was pulled over and taken into custody without a struggle, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Ben Ramirez.

Court records show that Martinez has prior convictions for reckless driving, spousal abuse and carrying a loaded firearm in public without a permit.