Cathedral City, CA
A man who opened fire on three people at a Cathedral City residence in the mistaken belief that they had vandalized his home earlier that night was sentenced today to more than 15 years in prison.
Jose Jorge Cuadras, 38, was convicted last month of three counts of assault with a gun and one count of shooting at a dwelling, with several sentence-enhancing firearm allegations. Jurors deadlocked on three counts of attempted murder, which were formally dismissed at sentencing.
Cuadras fired shots at a home in the 31400 block of Avenida Juarez, where he believed at least one person who vandalized his home was staying, on April 9, 2014. Deputy District Attorney Jason Stone told jurors in his opening statement that Cuadras and his wife found their home vandalized about an hour and a half prior to the 10:30 p.m. drive-by shooting.
Days later, Cuadras admitted to another person that he had shot up the Avenida Juarez home because he thought the victims “were messing with my family,” the prosecutor told jurors. According to Stone, the real vandal was a then-17-year-old boy who threw rocks through windows at Cuadras’ home because the defendant had previously embarrassed him at a birthday party.
Cuadras also threatened one of the shooting victims with a gun on a previous occasion, the prosecutor alleged. Cathedral City police said the victims were on a porch outside the home when a gunman, later identified as Cuadras, drove up in a white Toyota Tundra and fired on them.
One of the men suffered a puncture wound to his stomach, and the other two men were uninjured, court documents state. Four .45-caliber shell casings were found at the scene, along with six impact marks on the house.
Cuadras was arrested three days after the shooting. He told police that after he found his home had been vandalized, he immediately left town for Los Angeles and remained there for the next two days.