A man charged with murder in a shooting outside a Bakersfield dollar store last month had been at large since 2013 on charges stemming from a drunken driving crash that injured multiple people, according to court filings and attorneys.

A warrant was issued for the arrest of Jose Urenda, 35, four years before his June 3 arrest in the slaying of 41-year-old Carlos Munoz outside a Family Dollar store on Union Avenue. 

Deputy District Attorney Brad Taconi, the prosecutor handling Urenda's DUI case, said a criminal complaint was filed following the crash and the warrant issued, but Urenda was never picked up. The warrant was still active at the time of his June 15 arrest in connection with the shooting.

In the earlier case, Urenda is accused of crashing into another vehicle on Highway 58 west of Mount Vernon Avenue then running from the scene. Authorities chased Urenda through several backyards, court documents say, and used a Taser to take him into custody. 

He was charged with two felony counts of DUI causing injury, hit and run resulting in injury and resisting arrest. 

Deputy Public Defender Paul Cadman, Urenda's attorney, said his client does not speak English, and he believes the language barrier between Urenda and authorities resulted in the circumstances of the 2013 arrest. 

"It appears that the cause of the tergiversate between Mr. Urenda and the authorities is rooted more in language issues from English to Spanish and vice versa," he said. 

The next hearing in the case is set for Aug. 3. 

Regarding the shooting, two other men — Jose Zambrano, 33, Juan Rubio Lopez, 28 — were also charged with murder.

According to court filings, a witness told investigators the shooting was carried out in retaliation for a robbery or attempted robbery by Munoz against Zambrano. 

Zambrano, Lopez and Urenda are next due in court Aug. 3. They are being held on $5 million bail each.

Additionally, Zambrano and Lopez — and six others — are charged federally on charges including drug trafficking in an investigation the Drug Enforcement Administration has conducted since October 2016.

Zambrano is accused of running an organization that sold large amounts of methamphetamine and heroin. Lopez acted as an "enforcer" in the organization, federal court filings say. 

A status conference in the federal case is set for Oct. 30 in Fresno.

(1) comment

Churchillis1
Churchillis1

So "language issues" made him get drunk and drive and run away from an accident he caused? Having "language issues" led him to murder somebody? Enough of the excuses, people. If you want to live in America, learn English. And, until you do, don't drive drunk and don't murder people. Sheesh.

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