Biotech employee faces 2 life terms for shooting co-worker

SAN DIEGO -- A biotech employee accused of shooting a co-worker in the face at a warehouse in Carmel Mountain Ranch last Tuesday pleaded not guilty Monday to attempted premeditated murder and other charges.

Superior Court Judge Lisa Rodriguez said Julio Riel Narvaez III, 54, represented an "extreme danger'' to the public and set his bail at $1 million.

Deputy District Attorney Genaro Ramirez said Narvaez and 37-year-old Michael Limbag -- whose cousin is married to the defendant -- had argued and seemingly resolved their dispute during a meeting at Phamatech Inc. on Innovation Drive the day of the shooting.

But that afternoon, further words were exchanged and the defendant retrieved a loaded .22-caliber semiautomatic firearm from his desk and went to the victim's workstation and shot him in the face, the prosecutor alleged.

The defendant allegedly tried to shoot the victim twice more but the gun jammed, according to Ramirez.

The prosecutor alleged that Narvaez attempted to break down a door that the victim and another employee were barricaded behind, but other employees of the drug-testing and laboratory services business saw what was happening and were able to subdue the defendant with zip-ties.

Limbag is in stable condition, Ramirez said.

Narvaez -- who has no prior record -- faces two consecutive life prison terms plus 32 years behind bars if convicted of attempted murder, intentionally discharging a firearm causing great bodily injury and assault with a semiautomatic firearm, the prosecutor said.

A status conference/bail review is set for Thursday and a preliminary hearing for July 10.

A GoFundMe account has been setup to help with medical expenses for Limbag and his family.