After a beloved merchant was slain at his business, the public demanded justice

CATHEDRAL CITY – As news of the fatal shooting of a beloved merchant pierced the nighttime air in this working-class community, social media erupted with pleas that Cathedral City police do their job and catch the assailant. The pleas were for all intents and purposes orders from a community in mourning. The public demanded justice.

Cathedral City police were dispatched to the Outpost Market, 68-171 Ramon Road, on Feb. 21 just after 9 p.m. after receiving reports of an armed robbery. They discovered Outpost Market co-owner Chris Sgouromitis, 60, suffering from gunshot wounds. Despite emergency medical treatment he died at the scene.

Sgouromitis was the father of four and had a strong bond with the community.

On Tuesday, March 2, less than two weeks after the fatal shooting and detectives’ tireless efforts, two suspects were nabbed.

Charles Lama Campbell, 20, of Beaumont and Joel Ortiz-Hidalgo, 19, of Desert Hot Springs, were arrested Monday, March 1 on suspicion of homicide. Authorities believe Campbell was the shooter, while Ortiz-Hidalgo served as the driver during the alleged robbery.

The community breathed a collective sigh of relief. They applauded the police work.

It was the first homicide in Cathedral City of 2021.

“This senseless murder struck a chord in our community as Mr. Sgouromitis and his family have been an integral part of this community for decades,”” Police Chief George S. Crum told Uken Report.  Our officers and Detectives did an outstanding job from the beginning of the investigation and immediately began following up on leads.”

A photo of the suspect who was identified as the shooter at Outpost Market began circulating on social media on Monday Feb. 22, 2021. The Department did not release the photo, Crum said, but it quickly began receiving tips of who the community believed the masked gunman was. Detectives immediately began investigating that tip as it was important to exonerate that individual if he was not our suspect, Crum said. Police were able to establish quickly he was not their suspect in this case and they continued following additional leads.

“The investigation of this case relied on various combinations of video evidence provided to us by a number of sources,” Crum said. “We analyzed a multitude of store surveillance videos, as well as our own intersection surveillance cameras within our city. The Detectives conducted numerous and thorough interviews and analyzed evidence which ultimately led to the arrest of the two men. Overall, the Police Department has worked tirelessly since this homicide and conservatively has over 500 hours of investigation time in this case.”

This case was a result of hard work, caring community members and our allied agencies who assisted us with additional resources, Crum said.

Crum said he especially wanted to give a shout out to the community, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Riverside County District Attorney’s Office and the hard-working men and women of the Cathedral City Police Department for their “tireless work on this case.”

Crum said he is extremely proud of the Cathedral City Police Department and its accomplishments since his return one year ago.

“As you know, I returned Feb. 24, 2020 and our city experienced five homicides in 2020,” Crum said. “Our Patrol Officers and Detectives worked tirelessly last year as we solved all five homicides in 2020. Four of the five homicides have people in custody who are awaiting trial. Our fifth homicide last year has additional investigative work to be completed at which time we will present that case to the District Attorney’s office to file charges.”






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