FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL: Cathedral City Police (760) 770-0300
Issuing Employee: Commander Paul Herrera – 760-770-0308 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Case: Identification of Homicide Suspect / #2003C-5346
Date/Time of Initial Crime: March 23, 2020 / 1844 hrs.
Location of Occurrence: 29000 block of Avenida La Vista, Cathedral City, CA
(Case #2003C-5346) On March 23, 2020, at approximately 1844 hours, Cathedral City Police Department (CCPD) received 911 calls reporting gunfire heard in the area of Avenida La Vista and Tortuga Road (located in the in the Panorama residential neighborhood of Cathedral City). Police were dispatched and arrived at a residence in the 29000 block of Avenida La Vista at 1850 hours. Inside the home, officers located at least one adult male and one juvenile gunshot victim that required medical care. Cathedral City Police paramedics arrived to treat the gunshot victims and handled the medical transport of the juvenile to a Regional Trauma Center.
Unfortunately, the adult male (later identified as Ruben Hernandez,43,of Cathedral City) succumbed to his injuries at the scene and was pronounced deceased by CCFD paramedics. The juvenile (a pre-teen girl) was treated and hospitalized for her injuries. The circumstances surrounding the event and motive for the shooting was investigated by CCPD’s Detective Bureau. At the time of the incident, very little information was available other than an unidentified person approached the residence and shot at the victim, while the victim was standing near the front door area of his residence.
(Case #2003C-5410) On March 24, 2020, at approximately 0200 hours, CCPD received a call of multiple gunshots fired into a residence, located in the 33300 block of Wishing Well Trail. CCPD officers and detectives investigated that shooting and learned an unidentified suspect approached a locked front door of a residence and yelled for an (unidentified) person to exit the residence. The suspect(s) then fired multiple rounds into the interior of the residence before fleeing the scene. There were multiple occupants inside the residence at the time, but luckily no one were struck by gunfire. The preliminary investigation revealed (through witness information and physical evidence) the crime locations and suspects in both incidents were linked.
Over the last seven days, CCPD officers and detectives have worked tirelessly to identify and locate those responsible for the senseless shooting death of a father with local community ties, was not involved in criminal activity and died in his home, where his 11-year-old daughter was also shot and seriously injured. This criminal investigation has included collaboration with other law enforcement agencies and critical involvement and cooperation from the local community. We (CCPD) have identified and arrested persons responsible for both senseless crimes:
- Gabriel Hernandez (22, of Indio CA): Hernandez has been identified as being responsible for the shooting death of Ruben Hernandez. (There is no relation to victim.) Gabriel Hernandez is a former Rancho Mirage High School Student and was out on bail from another felony crime involving weapons and drug possession. He is also responsible for the shooting incident (attempted murder) at the Wishing Well Trail residence. CCPD Detectives have obtained an arrest warrant for murder ($1,000,000.00 bail) and are actively seeking his location for arrest.
- Josue (Jose) Casas (23, of Cathedral City CA): Josue Casas was located by CCPD Detectives on 3-27-2020 in the City of Desert Hot Springs and was arrested for homicide. He has been positively linked to the transportation of the suspect and weapons to the La Vista homicide scene and driving Gabriel Hernandez away from the scene. He was booked into the Riverside County Jail and is currently held on $1,000,000.00 bail.
- Joel Casas (Brother of Josue, 18, of Cathedral City): Joel Casas has been identified as being involved in the shooting death of Ruben Hernandez. He is currently at large and is evading capture with Gabriel Hernandez, who he is assisting in harboring from authorities. He has an active arrest warrant for $500,000.00 for Accessory to Murder.
(Please note: Anyone related to or involved in the act of concealing, aiding or harboring these two outstanding suspects, in order to protect them from arrest, trial, conviction and/or sentencing can be arrested and charged with a felony – if you know the whereabouts of the outstanding suspects, please contact your local police or sheriff’s department.)
Cathedral City Police Department officers are actively working to develop closure to this case through safely locating and arresting Gabriel Hernandez and Joel Casas. We ask that if you have information related to this incident or believe you may have information, please contact Cathedral City Police Detectives at 760-770-0300 / Detective Sergeant Rick Sanchez at 760-202-2488 or via the Cathedral City Police Department website at: cathedralcitypolice.com.
If you have information possibly associated with this incident, you may also report your information anonymously through the WeTip hotline at: 1-(800)-78-CRIME or WWW.WETIP.com. Some tip information may qualify for a cash reward.