A 19-year-old man pleaded not guilty on Thursday to attempted murder charges in connection with a shooting that paralyzed a soldier at his own homecoming party.
Ruben Ray Jurado entered his plea to one count of premeditated attempted murder with a firearm enhancement during a Thursday arraignment hearing in San Bernardino County Superior Court.
Jurado is accused of shooting and critically wounding Army Spec. Christopher Sullivan at Sullivan's homecoming party on North Garner Avenue on Dec. 23.
Sullivan had just returned home from a military hospital where he was recovering from wounds suffered in a December 2010 suicide bombing attack while deployed in Afghanistan.
Sullivan was shot when he tried to break up a fight between Jurado and Sullivan's brother that apparently started over an argument over National Football League teams, police said.
Jurado's attorney Michael J. Holmes said the shooting was self-defense. He said Jurado was on the ground being kicked in the back, stomach and head when Jurado fired the gun.
Sullivan was shot in the neck and buttocks. He was on life support at a local hospital. Relatives said he is paralyzed from the neck down.
Cousins and Jurado's brother refused to talk to the press after the short hearing.
Jurado surrendered to police on Dec. 26. He was treated for wounds and was booked into the West Valley Detention Center. His bail was set at $1 million. If convicted, Jurado could face 35 years to life in state prison.
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Jurado is expected to return to court on Jan. 9.