By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer
A Monrovia High School senior and standout football player pleaded not guilty Monday in Fontana Court to charges of attempted murder, attempted robbery, possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale.
Derrick Johnson, 18, of Monrovia, was arrested Wednesday following a botched robbery and shooting in Fontana.
He entered his plea at an in-custody arraignment and is being held in lieu of $1.425 million bail, court officials said.
Johnson is due back in court May 3, for a preliminary hearing, officials said. He is being held at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga. A court official said Johnson has not been assigned a public defender.
School officials, family members and others who know Johnson refused to speak about the arrest Monday.
Monrovia Unified School District superintendent Linda Wagner and Monrovia High principal Darvin Jackson did not return calls seeking comment. Monrovia athletic director Randy Bell and Monrovia football coach Ryan Maddox declined to comment.
Terry Brown, Johnson’s sister, also declined to comment Monday.
Johnson starred at linebacker for the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division champion Monrovia Wildcats. During the 2010 season, the All-CIF selection recorded 110 tackles and had three sacks. He was named Rio Hondo League Linebacker of the Year. Johnson was also named to this newspaper’s All-San Gabriel Valley Team, which combines football players from both the east and west sides of the San Gabriel Valley.
Police said the shooting took place Wednesday after two teens, one of which is alleged to be Johnson, pointed a revolver at two brothers in the 14200 block of Baseline Avenue.
Fontana police Sgt. Billy Green said the brothers, aged 22 and 16, were waiting for their parents to finish work cleaning a nearby pre-school.
The brothers were approached by the gunmen and asked if they wanted to buy some marijuana, Green said.
When the brothers declined, one of the suspects produced a handgun and demanded money. The brothers said they didn’t have any money, and ran away.
Shots were fired and the 22-year-old was hit twice, once in the left side of his body and once in his buttocks, Green said.
Following the incident, the shooters fled on foot. Johnson and a 17-year-old accomplice, who was not identified by police, were apprehended a short time later at a nearby housing development, Green said.
The arrests occurred at a housing complex in the 14000 block of Bancroft Court in Fontana, slightly more than a mile from the shooting location, Green said.
Green was not sure whether police discovered a handgun, or how much, if any, marijuana was recovered.
Staff Writers Aram Tolegian and J.D. Velasco contributed to this story.