Whittier woman charged with Pico Rivera woman’s shooting

PICO RIVERA — Officials have arrested and charged a Whittier woman in connection with the near-fatal shooting of a 36-year-old Pico Rivera woman who was shot in the head as she slept in her apartment in May.
Michelle Caldera, 32, of Whittier was arrested late Tuesday at a motel, according to officials and sheriff’s booking records.
Along with two other men already jailed in connection with the shooting, “She’s charged with the attempted murder as well,” Deputy District Attorney Brock Lunsford said.
She pleaded not guilty Thursday in Whittier Superior Court in the May 19 shooting of Gloria Montes at her home in the 5300 block of Lindsey Avenue, investigators said. The badly wounded woman has remained hospitalized on a ventilator since the shooting.
She was taken into custody Tuesday at a motel, Lunsford said, however further details of the arrest were not available.
Caldera was the alleged getaway driver in the shooting, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Bailey said. He has previously referred to the former fugitive as “the last piece of the puzzle.”
Co-defendants Jose Trejo, 21, of Pico Rivera and Arthur Lerma, 33, of Whittier, were already in custody and charged with the attempted murder. Lerma is accusing of being the gunman.
All three suspects are accused of carrying out the crime for the benefit of a criminal street gang.
Lerma and Trejo are believed to be members of a Pico Rivera gang, Bailey said, while Caldera was believed to be a members of a Whittier gang and associate of the Pico Rivera gang.
The suspects shot Montes because Lerma believed she had cooperated with law enforcement officials in a robbery case which sent him to prison for eight years, Bailey said.
Though Caldera was interviewed by detectives in the investigation, she did not testify against him, officials said.
According to sheriff’s booking records, Caldera was due back in Whittier Superior Court for a hearing Aug. 30, Lerma was due back in court Sept. 20 and Trejo was due back Sept. 22.
Later in the process, the three defendants will have their cases consolidated into one, Lunsford said.
Caldera and Trejo and Lerma were each being held in lieu of $1 million bail, according to booking records, while Lerma was being held without bail.

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