Crime

$500k bail for man accused of Blaine drive-by shooting

A man accused of a drive-by shooting in Blaine made his first court appearance Wednesday, July 29, on a charge of attempted murder.

Prosecutors allege Steve Ibarra, 21, shot a rival gang member, Joe Anthony Guevara-Medina, with a small-caliber handgun outside the Golden Nut Company on the evening of Dec. 4, 2011. Guevara-Medina survived the shooting.

Earlier that day Rogelio “Cuete” Fernando-Solano, a new employee at the factory, had come up to Guevara-Medina as he started his shift around 6 a.m. Fernando-Solano lifted up his shirt to show a gunshot wound.

“Look what your homies did to me,” said Ferndando-Solano, a Brown Pride Surenos gang member, according to charging papers. “Now you are going to get a bullet.”

That December evening after Guevara-Medina finished his 12-hour shift, he found someone had slashed the tires of his car. He called his mother to get a ride.

Then a pickup came around the corner, the door opened, and a gunshot rang out. Guevara-Medina ran inside to the break room bleeding from the chest. Co-workers dialed 911.

Over a year later two men in the pickup truck identified Ibarra, another BPS gang member, as the shooter in interviews with detectives, according to a probable cause statement read in court this week by Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Eric Richey.

Ibarra, however, has spent the past three years in prison for intimidating another gang member’s stepfather with a shotgun, and until now he had not been charged in connection to the Golden Nut shooting.

All three of the other defendants — Fernando-Solano, who owned the truck and drove it that evening; Adrian Arturo “Bowser” Montelongo, who slashed the tires; and Jose Luis “Joker” Santos, who claimed he thought the plan was just to beat up the victim, not shoot him — pleaded guilty to reduced charges.

Guilty plea paperwork in one defendant’s case lists the condition for the charge reduction: “Full and truthful testimony on behalf of the State as required.”

Superior Court Commissioner Thomas Verge set Ibarra’s bail at $500,000 on Wednesday. He’s expected to be formally charged in the coming days with attempted murder in the first degree.

Court records show Ibarra, who went by the nickname “Silencer,” has three past convictions for felony assault in the second degree.

Charging papers don’t say who identified the rival gang or gang member who threatened to shoot Joe Anthony Guevara-Medina. The information was corrected July 30, 2015.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or caleb.hutton@bellinghamherald.com. Read the Dispatcher blog at bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher-blog and follow him on Twitter at @bhamcaleb.

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