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USMC Gunnery Sgt. killed in random crime spree in rural San Bernardino County town

US Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. killed in random crime spree
US Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. killed in random crime spree 01:43

The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office charged an 18-year-old man for an alleged random crime spree that killed a United States Marine. 

Suspect Rudy Garcia Jr, 18, faces seven felony charges including:

  • Murder
  • Attempted carjacking 
  • Attempted second-degree robbery
  • Two counts of willful, deliberate and premeditated attempted murder 
  • Two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm — personal use of a firearm

The alleged crime spree happened on May 20 when Garcia and several others caused a disturbance while drinking alcohol in the area of Alpine Road and Old Dale Road, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. A resident spoke to the group, but the interaction escalated and ended when Garcia allegedly opened fire. Luckily, he missed the resident. 

Deputies said he ran away from the group toward Knott Sky Park on El Sol Avenue, near Sullivan Raod. He then shot at a parked vehicle at the dog park. Inside the vehicle was United States Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Ronald McDonald and his dog. 

After sustaining a gunshot wound, McDonald tried to drive away from the area but lost control of his car and crashed into another parked car moments later.

Deputies recovered a handgun they believed belonged to Garcia. 

Loved ones and friends held a vigil for McDonald, who was also a beloved football coach. 

"When service members get station here, they normally stay on base and do their duty and serve our country," Twentynine Palms Mayor Steve Bilderain said. "But you could see with the people out here he has made an impact in just the short time that has been here with our community."

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