Preliminary hearing set for suspected shooter

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A Butte County man accused of second degree attempted murder pleaded not guilty in Colusa County Superior Court last week to a slew of felony charges. 

Rodolfo Martinez Madrigal, Jr., 28, of Gridley, was arrested on March 7 on suspicion of firing a gun at an individual in Grimes on Feb. 26, before fleeing the scene. 

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 9 AM on April 12.

In addition to the attempted murder charge, Madrigal Jr. is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and two special allegations related to his past history of violence. In 2011, Madrigal Jr. was convicted of stabbing a rival gang member, in Chico, following a St. Patrick’s Day altercation near Madison Bear Garden. 

Although he took the stand in his own defense at that trial and denied he was not involved in the stabbing, Madrigal Jr. admitted to being a gang member since the age of 13, but that he had tried to move away from the group by moving from Gridley to Chico about a week before the incident. 

A Butte County judge sentenced Madrigal Jr. to two years in state prison for assault with a deadly weapon with an additional five years for the special allegation that the incident was gang related. 

The Colusa County District Attorney’s Office has not alleged that the Grimes incident was gang related, and said a witness is prepared to testify at the preliminary hearing. 

The Colusa County Sheriff’s Department said that Madrigal Jr. fired shots at the victim and then fled the scene in a dark-colored Honda sedan. 

While en-route to Grimes following the report of gunfire, Task Force officials observed a vehicle matching the description traveling toward Colusa and attempted to make an investigative stop. Sheriff’s officials said the vehicle stopped, and one of the occupants threw the weapon out the window of the vehicle, before the driver sped off at a high rate of speed, evading law enforcement. 

Madrigal was arrested the following week after a warrant was served on a cell phone discovered following the incident.