A man who accidentally shot himself during an alleged attempt to kill a black employee at a Desert Hot Springs auto parts store must stand trial for attempted murder and hate crime charges, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Rudy Arana, 19, allegedly brought a sawed-off shotgun to an Autozone store on March 30, and following a tussle with the employee that brought both men to the ground, shot himself in the lower body, according to Desert Hot Springs police.
The employee testified Wednesday that as the work day started, he saw Arana trying to get into his car in the parking lot. He told Arana to leave, but he allegedly returned a short time later and asked other employees where the victim was, while calling himself an N-word "killer," according to court documents.
After continuing to loiter near the store, Arana saw the employee he was seeking when the worker left the store to take out the trash, the victim testified.
As they wrestled for control of the gun, Arana allegedly cursed at the employee and referred to him using the N-word, saying, "I'm going to kill you," the victim testified. He said two shots were fired during the struggle, including the shot that struck Arana.
Arana was taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries and was later placed under arrest. No one else was injured in the shooting.
Arana was later charged with attempted murder, along with multiple sentence-enhancing allegations, including hate crime, firearm and gang allegations.
He will return to court Aug. 2 for a post-preliminary hearing arraignment. He remains jailed on $1 million bail.
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