DES MOINES, IOWA (AP) – Another teenager accused in a fatal shooting near an Iowa high school has admitted to the crime, marking the fifth guilty plea among the 10 people charged.
Daniel Hernandez, 18, pleaded guilty on Friday to second-degree murder and two counts of willful injury, the Des Moines Register reported. He had previously been charged with first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder and two counts of willful injury.
Ten teenagers were charged in the shooting on March 7 outside Des Moines’ East High School. Fifteen-year-old Jose Lopez died. His sister, 16-year-old Jessica Lopez, along with 18-year-old Kemery Ortega, were badly injured. Jose Lopez was not a student at the school, but the two injured teens were. Eight defendants were initially charged as adults with first-degree murder and other crimes while the remaining two were sent to juvenile court. Those accused ranged in age from 14 to 18 at the time of the crime.
Hernandez said in a court hearing on Friday that he was involved in a “caravan” of three vehicles that fired shots as it rolled past the school.
He didn’t say what prompted the gunfire. The victims were standing near a sidewalk when they were struck.
The first suspect to be sentenced was 16-year-old Kevin Martinez, who pleaded guilty to intimidation with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Two other suspects have pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and other charges. Another pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact and weapons charges.