GLENDALE — Three reputed gang members were sentenced Tuesday to more than two dozen years in prison for mistakenly shooting a Glendale man who they believed was a rival gang member, officials said.
Daniel Rodriguez, 33, and Iban Gurrola, 29, of North Hollywood and Steven Aguilar, 29, of Lancaster pleaded no contest Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Pasadena to the second-degree attempted murder of Miguel Alvarez, said Shiara Dávila-Morales, a spokeswoman for the county district attorney’s office.
Alvarez was shot in the back and leg in 2008 outside his apartment on Lomita Street but recovered from his injuries.
Superior Court Judge Darrell Mavis sentenced Aguilar and Gurrola, who were the shooters, to 35 years each in state prison. Rodriguez, who was the driver, was sentenced to 29 years in prison.
The men, who belong to an Atwater Village-based gang, admitted to belonging to a gang and intentionally discharging a firearm.
The trial was scheduled to begin this week, but officials said they opted to issue a plea in the case and to be immediately sentenced.
Glendale Police Officer Keith Soboleski, who was the investigating detective, said he was surprised by the outcome. He and the prosecutor had been preparing several weeks for the trial.
About 15 officers, 10 eyewitnesses, experts and Alvarez were expected to testify during the trial, Soboleski said.
“It’s a relief we don’t have to drag the victim back into this,” he said.
Alvarez was caught in the crossfire of a confrontation between members of two rival gangs in the 500 block of East Lomita Avenue in February 2008, police said.
The men were in a Chevrolet Tahoe about 4:30 p.m. when they pulled up to a 20-year-old man whom they suspected of being a Toonerville gang member, Soboleski said.
They asked the man to pull up his shirt to see if he had any gang tattoos, but he had none, Soboleski said.
The men then began to drive away at about the same time Alvarez, who was 26 at the time, was walking out of his Lomita Street apartment building, prompting the men to reverse the Tahoe, stop and get out.
Without exchanging words, Aguilar and Gurrola opened fire on Alvarez.
The men then returned to the Tahoe and tried to flee, but they were stopped by police before getting onto the Glendale (2) Freeway. Police recovered two handguns.
The shooting was in retaliation of a murder the previous night in which a Toonerville gang member allegedly gunned down a member of their gang in Atwater Village, Soboleski said.