By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
A robbery suspect accused of trying to shoot two people and fondling an elderly man during a bizarre crime spree in early March has pleaded no contest to one count of attempted murder.
Court records say Steven Lujan, 22, took the plea deal Thursday and is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 18. A second charge of attempted murder, as well as robbery, grand theft and sexual battery were dismissed.
Lujan's co-defendant, Arturo Gomez, 28, was sentenced to two years in prison in late August.
Kern County Sheriff's deputies say Lujan twice tried firing guns at separate victims during the March 1 crimes. First, he and Gomez robbed the Freeway Express Market in Mettler.
Deputies said in reports filed in court that Lujan turned toward the clerk as he left the market, pointed a gun at her head and pulled the trigger multiple times. The gun didn't fire, and Lujan and Gomez drove away.
The two collided with a vehicle on North Rancho Drive just south of Teale Road in a sparsely populated area southwest of Arvin. The driver of the other vehicle suffered minor injuries and her baby -- strapped in a car seat -- was uninjured.
The reports say Gomez and Lujan ran from their wrecked vehicle into nearby orchards. Gomez was arrested a few days later.
Lujan's day took an even stranger turn from that point. He stripped to his underwear and crossed a canal.
The reports say he then ran to a nearby house where he assaulted an elderly man and dragged him into a bedroom. He put a shotgun he found in the home to the man's head and tried pulling the trigger, but the gun wouldn't fire.
Lujan pulled the man's clothes off and fondled him, according to the reports. Lujan later told deputies he'd been using heroin for months and wasn't sure why he did this to the man.
The reports say Lujan apologized and cried about what he'd done. He left the room and the man escaped the house through a door at the back as he yelled to his daughter-in-law for help.
At that point several things happened. Deputies in a helicopter flew over the area in response to the Mettler robbery and the crash. Also, the elderly man's son arrived home and armed himself with a shotgun from another house on the property.
The reports say Lujan tried stealing the son's pickup. The son came back outside, approached Lujan and, when Lujan raised the shotgun he'd stolen from the main house, the son opened fire.
Lujan was injured and taken to a local hospital, then booked into the downtown jail on $880,000 bail upon his recovery.