PALM SPRINGS, Ca.
A Thermal man who shot a security guard after being thrown out of a Palm Springs nightclub was sentenced Friday to 32 years to life in state prison.
Sheldon Alfred Auclair Jr., 33, was convicted of attempted murder in March, following a one-week trial, for shooting Zelda’s guard Eugenio Bradford outside the club during the predawn hours of April 18, 2014.
In addition to the attempted murder count, Auclair was convicted of assault with a firearm and jurors found true sentencing enhancements for discharging a firearm causing great bodily injury and committing a street gang crime with a firearm.
Letters from numerous family members and friends, including Auclair’s wife, mother, sister, brother and step-siblings, were read to the court today, pleading for leniency.
Auclair’s wife wrote that “he’s an amazing man (who) always loved and cared for others,” while his sister wrote: “I understand that he’s been convicted and I understand he is going to prison. I ask that you don’t send him away for the rest of our lives.”
Deputy District Attorney Hawlee Valente said Auclair was kicked out of Zelda’s for throwing a woman to the ground, but he remained outside the club, where he and a friend got into an argument with another group.
That altercation was broken up by Bradford and another Zelda’s security guard, Cody Kennedy. Auclair then drew a .45-caliber handgun from his waistband and pointed it at Kennedy, prompting Bradford to tell the defendant, “Just leave, man. Now we’ll have to involve the police,” according to the prosecutor.
Instead of leaving as suggested, Auclair shot Bradford in the stomach — an injury which resulted in two surgeries and kept the victim hospitalized for about a month, Valente said.
Deputy Public Defender Dennette McIntyre contended that Auclair was “legitimately wrongfully accused,” arguing that multiple witnesses saw Auclair kicked out of Zelda’s, yet failed to identify him in a photographic lineup.
McIntyre told jurors that Auclair did get involved in “a scuffle” with a woman at the club, but “left willingly” when guards told him to leave.
She also said numerous club staff saw Auclair escorted out of Zelda’s, but either failed to identify him among suspect photos or offered differing, vague descriptions, such as a man who was “maybe Native American or Hispanic.”
Auclair has no other felony convictions in Riverside County.