Sat, Jul 27 2013 12:00 PM Posted By: Neal Putnam
A judge determined July 17 that a robbery suspect who was shot by Chula Vista Police outside a CVS Pharmacy is mentally fit for trial and set a trial date for Sept. 5.
Criminal proceedings were resumed against John Edward Pantoja, 22, by San Diego Superior Court Judge Joseph Brannigan after he read a psychiatric report about Pantoja.
Pantoja was evaluated June 25 in jail by a psychiatrist after his lawyer doubted Pantoja was mentally competent to stand trial. A Chula Vista judge suspended proceedings on April 29 after Pantoja’s lawyer, George Siddell, said he doubted he was mentally competent.
Pantoja is charged with pre-meditated attempted murder of officer Raul Naranja when he allegedly opened fire at the officer who was responding to a 1:35 a.m. robbery report of the CVS Pharmacy at 16 Third Ave. in Chula Vista on Oct. 15, 2012.
The premeditated attempted murder charge carries a life sentence that includes parole if a jury finds the shootings were planned, according to court records. Pantoja is also accused of assault upon an officer and two robbery counts.
The bullets missed Naranja, but he fired back and wounded Pantoja in the leg. Pantoja was arrested and taken to a hospital. The 13-year veteran officer was not injured.
The money and an employee’s car keys taken by the robber were found at different areas near the scene. Pantoja has pleaded not guilty and remains in jail without bail.
© 2009 The Star-News