Dollar Tree scuffle leads to woman’s arrest for attempted murder

CATHEDRAL CITY — On June 4, at approximately 3:28 p.m., a customer inside of the Dollar Tree was confronted by a Hispanic male who brandished a firearm. The suspect would later use the gun to pistol-whip the victim in the head and fire six rounds.

The customer/victim lunged for the firearm, and a fight ensued, according to Sgt. Jeffrey Barnett. Two females accompanying the suspect attempted to assist the male and began to fight with the victim as well. After fighting over the gun for approximately 2 to 3 minutes, the suspects and victim reached a stalemate and agreed to stop fighting.

The victim attempted to shake the suspect’s hand, but the suspect retrieved the gun out of his pants and attempted to shoot the victim at point-blank range, according to Barnett. The gun did not function, and the magazine fell from the gun preventing the firearm from discharging.

The victim and the suspect began to fight for the magazine. During the fight the suspect pistol-whipped the victim in the head. The victim ran from the store, and the suspect chased after the victim, firing six rounds at the victim, striking him several times.

Detectives identified all three suspects and issued a search warrant on one suspect’s residence. The suspect was not at the residence, but evidence related to the crime was located and collected.

The 18-year-old victim is from Cathedral City. The person’s name is being withheld.

Male Brandishes Firearm at Dollar Tree, Shoots

Leah Lopez

One female suspect, Leah Lelani Lopez, 18, of San Jacinto, was arrested later in the evening by the Riverside Sheriff’s Department for an unrelated crime.

She was booked into the Larry D. Smith Detention Center. Detectives responded to the Larry D. Smith Detention Center and arrested her for attempted murder and other felony charges.

The investigation to locate the two other suspects is ongoing.


David Anthony William Garcia


Marie Verest

The suspects have been identified as David Anthony William Garcia, 21, of Desert Hot Springs. He is considered armed and dangerous. The other suspect is Marie Ashee Verest, 62, of Cathedral City.

If you have information related to this incident or believe you may have information, please contact the Cathedral City Police at (760) 770-0300 / Detective Sgt. Nate Hanley at (760) 770-0328; or via the Cathedral City Police Department website at:; or email

You may also report information anonymously through Coachella Valley Crime Stoppers, by calling (760) 341-STOP; or through the WeTip hotline at: 1-(800)-78-CRIME or

Some tip information may qualify for a cash reward.

Image Sources

  • Leah Lopez: CCPD
  • Police line do not cross: PIxabay