Man pleads not guilty to murder in shooting outside convenience store

A man was shot to death early Monday near a convenience store in the East County community of Ramona.

A man was shot to death early Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, near a convenience store in the East County community of Ramona.

EL CAJON, Calif. (CNS) – A man who allegedly opened fire on several people outside a Ramona convenience store on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, killing one, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to murder and other felony charges.

Elias Rafael Ruiz, 32, is accused in the death of 37-year-old Ramona resident Arthur Hancock, who was gunned down about 12:30 a.m. Jan. 18 and died at the scene.

Deputy District Attorney Oscar Hagstrom said the victim and other acquaintances were outside the Circle K convenience store on Main Street when Ruiz allegedly opened fire from a vehicle, striking Hancock twice in the chest. The prosecutor alleged Ruiz then opened fire on others in the area, sending rounds into the store, and sped off.

The defendant was arrested later that day at his home, Hagstrom said.

Officials have not revealed a suspected motive for the shooting or disclosed the nature of the relationship, if any, between Hancock and Ruiz.

In addition to murder, Ruiz is charged with three counts of attempted murder, as well as one count each of shooting at an inhabited building and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Bail was set at $2.5 million and Ruiz is due back in court July 13 for a preliminary hearing.

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