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4 suspects in robbery, car chase will stand trial

CSUF - 4

Anibal Ortiz/KPCC

A police detective walks students to their cars after their building was cleared during a lockdown at Cal State Fullerton on Dec. 12.

Four armed robbery suspects who sped away from the cops in two separate car chases that spanned  three counties and caused a lengthy college campus shutdown will stand trial.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jean Leonard ordered the men held over for trial on charges of attempted murder, robbery and gang activity, along with multiple sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.

The alleged suspects pulled black ski masks over their faces before using handguns to rob the Empire Jewelry & Loan pawn shop in Moreno Valley on Dec. 12.

The four suspects are Traevon Cortez Vidaud, 24, Damine Lavonte Banks, 30, Jerome Renard Allen, Jr., 23, and Roosevelt Fernandez, 26.

The men fled the scene, leading authorities on two separate high-speed chases. One ended in Watts, where police took Vidauad into custody after he surrendered in a baseball field parking lot.

The other chase ended with authorities locking down the Cal State Fullerton campus for about seven hours as they searched for the suspects. Banks and Allen were arrested near the campus, but two others managed to escape.

Riverside Sheriff’s deputies arrested Fernandez without incident two weeks later in Long Beach.

Riverside County prosecutors believe Fernandez shot the pawn shop store clerk twice in the chest. The man survived the shooting.

A fifth, unidentified suspect is still believed to be on the loose.

All four suspects have pleaded not guilty to the charges.They’ll return to court Feb. 1 to enter new pleas, now that the judge has ordered them to stand trial.

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