ONTARIO – Two gang members pleaded not guilty Monday to the Easter Sunday shooting that robbed a family of its 59-year-old patriarch, concluding a month-long police investigation.
Joseph Arrez, 31, and Jon Flores, 29, were arrested last week on suspicion of murder, carjacking and participation with a criminal street gang, according to charges brought in San Bernardino Superior Court.
Police believe that both men participated in the April 24 death of Gregory Johnson, an ex-Marine who was shot outside his apartment in the 1500 block of Holmes Court. At the time of the murder, police had no suspects.
Four days later, Johnson’s family — including his wife Belinda — made a public plea for anyone with information to step forward. Police investigators logged nearly 2,000 hours before they arrested Flores in Ontario on May 18.
“People stepped forward, and the detective that was in charge of the investigation was able to tie some things together that really identified the suspects,” said Ontario Sgt. Jeff Crittenden.
One day after Flores was arrested, Arrez was taken into custody in Thousand Palms, a little more than an hour away from the crime scene.
Johnson was shot once in the upper body and was discovered in a driveway just outside his home. Police believe that Flores and Arrez were attempting to carjack the Johnsons’ 2006 Ford Explorer, which was found abandoned a few miles away from the shooting.
The two men will be back in court on Thursday. They are being held at the West Valley Detention Center in the neighboring city of Rancho Cucamonga on $1 million bail each.
Crittenden said police are still seeking witnesses to the carjacking and shooting, and asked that information be brought to Ontario police Det. Jeff Wentz at (909) 395-2715.
Said Crittenen: “We can never have enough information.”