A man accused of vandalizing and then holing up in a bathroom at the Walmart in La Quinta, leading to an evacuation of the store, pleaded not guilty Monday to felony vandalism and resisting arrest charges.
Daniel Lamonte, 32, of Palm Desert, is accused of damaging the store restroom just before 10 p.m. July 22, then locking himself inside a stall for nearly two hours before being taken into custody.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Stephen Davis said employees helped evacuate the Walmart at 79295 Highway 111 while deputies “engaged in a lengthy negotiation” with Lamonte in an effort to end the standoff, during which he was ordered “dozens of times” to exit the stall but allegedly refused to do so.
Deputies eventually entered and found Lamonte wielding “a metal bottle,” according to an arrest warrant declaration, which says that he zapped with a stun gun but was still able to grab one deputy’s arm. That deputy brought Lamonte to the ground, but was injured when an earring Lamonte was wearing punctured his hand, the declaration states.
Both the deputy and Lamonte were treated and released from a hospital.
A 4-inch knife and “multiple empty syringes” were found in the bathroom, according to the declaration, which says the vandalism of the restroom resulted in an estimated $1,000 in damage. The defendant allegedly moved a toilet, removed a paper towel dispenser from the wall and broke several other items.
Lamonte, who’s being held in lieu of $150,000 bail, is due back in court Aug. 6 for a felony settlement conference.