First Drive-By Shooting Suspect Has Court Date

The 21-year-old Prunedale man allegedly was the driver in the deadly attack.

One of three North Monterey County men arrested in connection with the made his first court appearance Monday, but did not enter a plea.

Alfredo Alanis Garcia, 21, of Prunedale is suspected of driving the car that carried the gunman who fatally shot Fernando Martin Mendoza-Avila, also 21, authorities have said.

In court Monday, Garcia was dressed in orange jail-issued clothing and appeared with defense attorney Brian Worthington of Salinas.

Garcia's arraignment was postponed until Tuesday, when the other two men accused in the homicide case will be present.

Until then, Garcia is being held without bail, a request from Assistant District Attorney Jason Gill, who is prosecuting the case. Garcia's bail had been set at $2 million.

Outside of court, Worthington said his client plans to plead not guilty and will not waive time, meaning the case should move rapidly through the court process.

"Mr. Garcia has a very limited record ... We want the case to progress quickly," Worthington said.

Mendoza-Avila was gunned down while walking from a family gathering near Bonita Drive in Aptos on Wednesday evening. He and a friend were on the Highway 1 overcrossing at Freedom Boulevard when a car pulled alongside them and someone opened fire, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Mendoza-Avila died at the scene.

He was reportedly driving the same car that was involved in the shooting. He was jailed on suspicion of homicide, gang participation and gun charges.

Two other men were arrested Friday and charged with the same crimes. Christopher Herrera, 21, of Prunedale and Rafael Barron, 20, of Las Lomas were arrested on Ginos Court in Watsonville. They remain in County Jail pending their first court appearances.

Investigators have said the shooting was gang-related, but have not explained further about the motive.

For all of Patch's coverage of the deadly drive-by shooting, click here.


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