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Apple robbery suspect in court Allison K. Sampite | Sat, Oct 22 2011 12:00 PM

The suspect in an attempted robbery in an Eastlake Apple store in April was in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing.

Johnny Chenda is in jail for allegedly attempting to rob the store with another male at the Otay Ranch Town Center in the Eastlake shopping mall April 4.

Testimony from three witnesses was heard Wednesday morning in the first of a two-day hearing.

Among them was Otay Ranch mall security guard Vanessa Stewart, Apple security guard Jose Jimenez and an Eastlake resident.

Jimenez said when the incident occurred he was getting ready to end his shift.

He said he saw a silver vehicle pull up next to his car in front of the Apple store; two men came up to the doors and, after banging on them, finally got one open. While one suspect came toward Jimenez, pointing a gun, the other (Chenda) grabbed merchandise.

Jimenez said he responded to the threat by grabbing his loaded 40-caliber glock and shooting at the suspect.

Jimenez said he doesn't recall who fired first.

The two suspects then broke through the glass door to leave and dropped the merchandise Chenda had allegedly grabbed.

The male suspects ran to their car and got inside and Jimenez said he followed them with his gun drawn.

A third passenger was in the back of the silver car and was screaming and yelling, according to Jimenez,

Deputy District Attorney Carlos Varela said if Chenda is found guilty of all charges, he could face more than 50 years in prison.

Chenda's bail is set at $1 million.

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