Arraignment set in Pasco shooting

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldJanuary 26, 2013 

A 21-year-old man who was found in a New Mexico motel room five days after he allegedly shot a man outside a Pasco gas station is back in Franklin County.

Fernando Jesus Loera is scheduled to enter a plea Tuesday in Franklin County Superior Court to two counts of first-degree assault.

He was booked into jail at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday and made his first court appearance Thursday, when Judge Robert Swisher advised Loera of his constitutional rights and set arraignment for next week.

Loera of Pasco was wanted for a Dec. 26 shooting at West Lewis and 10th streets.

According to court documents, brothers Jose Mendoza and Raul Larios were inside the Metro Mart, 1015 W. Lewis St., when Mendoza was confronted by a clerk who thought he had stolen something.

Mendoza reportedly went into the store to get some peppers for his tacos.

Mendoza then appeared to exchange words with a man at the cash register, documents said. The man later was identified as Loera.

When Mendoza left the store, he walked to the corner of the parking lot where Larios was putting air in the tires of his vehicle.

Meanwhile, Loera walked to the front of his Chevy Silverado -- which was gassing up at one of the pumps -- and fired two shots at Mendoza, who was standing next to his brother's car, court documents said.

The first shot hit Mendoza in the right leg, while the second missed him by a few inches and went through the car's right door.

Loera then got into his truck with a woman and sped away, documents said.

Pasco police used surveillance video from inside the convenience store to help identify Loera with help from Larios. Mendoza, who was being treated at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, later picked out Loera from a photo lineup as the alleged shooter.

A day after the shooting, Pasco police found the Chevy that Loera had been driving and followed leads until they found him at a Clovis, N.M., motel. He was arrested Dec. 31.

Loera is being held on $500,000 bail for the assaults, in addition to a Benton County warrant.

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