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17-year-old to be tried as adult in shooting case

A 17-year-old suspected of firing shots at a Medford apartment building will be tried as an adult and could face a longer sentence if prosecutors can prove the incident was gang-related.

Tyler Jesse Sandoval of the 500 block of North Main Street in Phoenix has been charged with two counts of attempted murder with a firearm, attempted first-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon, riot and criminal conspiracy to commit third-degree assault.

He entered not guilty pleas on all the charges Friday in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Sandoval allegedly fired three shots into an occupied apartment stairwell during an argument between his group and another group of males in September. The bullets didn't hit anyone, but people nearby included a 6-year-old child, police said.

Sandoval was arrested in California Nov. 9 and remains lodged without bail in Jackson County Jail.

Jackson County Deputy District Attorney Virginia Greer confirmed Monday that Sandoval will be tried as an adult.

Greer said the DA's office considers on a case-by-case basis whether to try juveniles as adults.

Sandoval is being tried as an adult because he is 17 years old and because the DA's office believes the shooting was gang-related, she said.

The DA's office has also filed a notice that it intends to rely on enhancement facts during Sandoval's trial. Prosecutors will attempt to show a longer sentence is warranted because the shooting was allegedly related to an organized criminal operation, involved gang-related activity, represented a threat of actual violence and involved multiple victims and the use of a weapon, according to an enhancement facts notice filed in court.

Greer said proving the factors could lead to a longer sentence.

For example, a 7-1/2 year sentence for attempted murder could be increased to 15 years, she said.

Greer said the DA's office will likely file more enhancement fact notices on cases prosecutors believe are gang-related.

She said people choose to live in communities such as Medford to be away from gang-related activity commonly seen in larger cities such as Los Angeles.

"We don't need gang-related violence in our community," Greer said. "We need to send a very clear message. It's unacceptable."

Medford has been hit with a rash of allegedly gang-related drive-by shootings since last summer.

Sandoval has a pre-trial conference hearing scheduled for Dec. 21, court records show.

Co-defendants Latraveon Deshawn Wesley, 19, of Medford and Alonzo Lee McBrown, 31, of Medford are scheduled to go to trial in January on charges of riot and criminal conspiracy to commit third-degree assault, according to court records.

Wesley was released from jail in October on $10,000 bail. McBrown is being held in jail on $10,000 bail, records show.

The DA's office has filed enhancement fact notices on Wesley and McBrown, as well.

In the cases of Wesley and McBrown, the DA's office alleges their actions were gang-related, involved an organized criminal operation and represented a threat of actual violence. The DA's office also plans to rely on Wesley's prior juvenile record for criminal history purposes, an enhancement facts notice states.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.