Man pleads not guilty in drive-by shooting witnessed by cop


San Diego police say this was one of two guns found inside a car after an officer witnessed a drive-by shooting. Photo: San Diego Police Department

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – An 18-year-old man accused of taking part in a gang-related drive-by shooting near a San Diego strip mall pleaded not guilty Monday to attempted murder and other charges.

Arnel Miller was arrested along with 16- and 17-year-old boys shortly after the trio allegedly fled the scene of the Sept. 25 shooting in the 5000 block of Logan Avenue.

No one was struck by the gunfire, though Deputy District Attorney Kyle Sutterley said two vehicles were struck, one of which was occupied by two senior citizens. The targets of the 10:45 a.m. shooting were three members of a rival gang, according to the prosecutor.

He alleged that Miller and the two juveniles traveled into their rivals’ territory that morning and “exchanged some words” with members of the other gang.

The defendants allegedly left the scene, then returned some time later in a car, at which point one of the occupants leaned out of the vehicle and fired five to six shots at the targets.

The prosecutor said that as the shots were fired, a police officer was passing by in the opposite direction and made a U-turn and pursued the defendants. Police said the officer lost sight of the suspect vehicle, but later found it abandoned in the middle of the street about one block from the shooting scene.

Miller and the juveniles were later located hiding in a backyard and taken into custody, police said.

Sutterley said surveillance footage from the parking lot and other camera feeds from around the area captured the shooting and the subsequent flight of the suspect vehicle. Two guns were also found inside the car.

In addition to three counts of attempted murder, Miller faces felony charges of conspiracy to commit murder, assault with a semi-automatic firearm, discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle, and shooting at an inhabited vehicle.

He’s being held in lieu of $1 million bail and is due back in court Oct. 14 for a bail review hearing.

Details on the juveniles’ cases were not available.

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