A 19-year-old Lodi man will spend five years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to assault with a firearm at a gas station.
Luis Antonio De La Luz admitted that he got into an argument and fired shots shortly after midnight Feb. 14 at USA Gas, 35 N. Cherokee Lane.
He and the other man each went to their own vehicles, where De La Luz got a handgun, San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Pat Rieta-Garcia said in court.
De La Luz fired several shots at the other vehicle, which was empty, and then fled. Nobody was struck.
Lodi police officers happened to be in the area and soon stopped De La Luz's car, which matched a description broadcast by dispatchers. Inside the vehicle, they found a gun.
De La Luz could have faced at least 13 years in prison but through a plea deal, he will be sentenced June 11 to five years in state prison. The conviction counts as his first strike under California's three-strikes law, meaning that the punishment for a future felony conviction could be doubled.
Judge Bob McNatt, looking at the shackled man who had consulted with his mother before accepting the plea deal, offered some advice.
"Mr. De La Luz, you're a young man. After all this is over, you're still going to be a young man - a lot younger than most of the people you're going to run into in prison," McNatt said.
The judge told De La Luz that, due to his youth, he still has time to turn his life around. Then McNatt wished him good luck.
De La Luz, who had briefly put his head in his hands, said with red eyes, "I appreciate that, your honor."
Sixth-grader to hold garage sale for D.C. trip
Michael Roush, 11 and a sixth-grader at Beckman Elementary School wants to go to Washington D.C. to visit the White House, learn the history behind the nation's capital and possibly meet people like Newt Gingrich, Janet Reno and Jesse Jackson.
He's already done the hard part: Being the only student at his school to be nominated to go to the Junior National Young Leaders' Conference. Now all he has to do is pay to get there.
Together, the six-day conference and the airfare to get him there will cost him and his family $3,000.
Roush will hold a garage sale Saturday starting at 8 a.m. at 1937 Camphor Way near South Mills Avenue to fund his adventurous learning experience.
For more information call 663-9479.
Man arrested by SWAT team pleads not guilty
A Lodi man who was arrested by the SWAT team after allegedly pointing a gun at an auto burglary victim pleaded not guilty to the charges this week.
Sajid Aziz, 23, is charged with one felony count each of assault with a firearm, auto burglary and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He pleaded not guilty at his Tuesday arraignment, according to San Joaquin County court records.
A judge set bail at $200,000 and appointed a public defender to represent him. He will return to court Monday, where attorneys will likely schedule a preliminary hearing.
Aziz was arrested last Friday, hours after a vehicle burglary victim told police that the suspect had pointed a gun at him before fleeing. Officers tracked part of a license plate to East Oak Street and called in the SWAT team, which ultimately found Aziz in a yard.
Same-sex marriage to be discussed
Christian Community Concerns will discuss the recent California Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage at today's breakfast meeting at 6:30 a.m. at Richmaid Restaurant, 100 S. Cherokee Lane, Lodi.
Criminal investigation opened in farm death
County officials are launching a criminal investigation to determine whether a labor contractor's negligence could have caused the death of a young, pregnant farmworker who collapsed in a vineyard two weeks ago.
Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez was pruning grape vines at a Stockton-area vineyard when she fainted on May 14, after working an eight-hour shift in 100-degree heat.
Relatives say supervisors recommended reviving her with rubbing alcohol before she was taken to a Lodi medical clinic, nearly two hours after she fell ill. Doctors later realized she was two months pregnant.
An investigator from the state Attorney General's office is also assisting in the probe, along with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.