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Two men accused in a gang-related retaliation shooting in Bay Terraces pleaded not guilty Wednesday to murder and other charges.

Ethan Apan, 28, and Kevin Herrera, 26, both of National City, are charged in the slaying of 20-year-old Joaquin Ruiz, who was shot on July 12, 2019, in the 7000 block of Paradise Valley Road. Co-defendant John Orozco, 26, of El Cajon, is also charged with murder and pleaded not guilty last week.

Officers originally called for a report of a possible traffic accident found Ruiz in a car, unconscious and suffering from a gunshot wound, according to San Diego Police Department Lt. Matt Dobbs. Paramedics took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Deputy District Attorney Robert Eacret alleged the defendants targeted the victim in retaliation for the slaying of an allied gang member one week prior. Eacret said the men drove alongside Ruiz’s vehicle and opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle.

Orozco was arrested Nov. 11 and the other two defendants were arrested Nov. 17. Police and prosecutors have not commented on how they connected the men to Ruiz’s killing.

Bail was set at $2 million for both Apan and Herrera. Their next court date is a Dec. 22 readiness conference.

San Diego police announced last week that Apan was also arrested on suspicion of a July 24, 2019, attempted murder, and a conspiracy to commit murder on Aug. 1, 2019, with both incidents involving separate victims.

–City News Service

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