Murder charges were dismissed today against two men who were accused in the fatal shooting of a man in Indio nearly three years ago.
Steven Moises Rapan, 26, and Gary Griffin Ramirez, 24, both of Indio, were released from custody , following the dismissal of murder and criminal street gang activity charges in connection with the May 28, 2014 shooting of 37-year-old Douglas Yanez Jr.
Rapan was additionally charged with attempted murder and shooting at an occupied vehicle. The men faced life without the possibility of parole due to a special circumstance allegation of committing the murder while being active gang members.
Prosecutors dismissed all charges against the pair , though District Attorney’s Office Public Information Officer John Hall said further investigation into the shooting could lead to charges being refiled against the men down the line.
“We received new evidence that led to an updated and careful review of the case. After that review we determined this was the appropriate thing to do," Hall said.
“Our office will only file or prosecute a case if we believe we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt to 12 jurors that anyone charged is guilty The investigation in this case will continue and charges could be refiled in the future, depending on how that ongoing investigation progresses.”
Yanez was found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds at near Kenner Avenue and Yucca Street. He was taken to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, where he was pronounced dead.
According to a declaration filed in support of an arrest warrant, Rapan shot at a friend of Yanez’s prior to the fatal shooting. A witness told police that Rapan and Ramirez believed Yanez’s friend was hiding someone who had shot a friend of theirs previously.
Thinking that Yanez’s friend was sheltering the shooter in his garage, Rapan fired a shot at the man as he passed them on the street, while they were in the front yard of a home on Kenner Avenue, the declaration alleges.
Yanez and his friend returned to the Kenner Avenue home to retaliate, according to the prosecution, and a gunfight ensued after the two men returned to the scene in Yanez’s truck.
Yanez was allegedly shot by Rapan “several times” and Ramirez “a minimum of two times” as he exited the truck, according to a witness.
Ramirez was taken into custody on June 11, 2014, and denied knowing Rapan, though investigators showed him photos of them together on his Facebook page, according to the declaration.
Rapan was arrested on July 3, 2014, after being at large for more than a month.