Christian Joel Sims pleads not-guilty to four felonies.
Three young men skateboarding in a Vista parking lot were robbed at gunpoint last February, according to testimony this week. One victim’s sister tried to get their belongings back through her Snapchat connections, according to her testimony in court July 30.
It was about 8 p.m. on a Saturday night, February 3, when a white Chevy Cruz pulled into a public parking lot and stopped near the young men. Two men got out of their car and acted friendly, making conversation with the skateboarders, one man even shared his Snapchat account with one of them.
Prosecutor Melissa O’Campo characterized this as “exchanging handles.” The online name of the friendly stranger was identified as Llama Me Taco.
But then each stranger pulled out a handgun, they both fired shots into the air and demanded the belongings of the younger men, according to testimony. The strangers took the jackets and wallets from the three youths, got back into their car, and drove away. One of the robbery victims immediately checked and found that he was already “unfollowed” by his new Snapchat-friend-robber, according to that alleged-victim’s testimony.
One victim phoned his “much older” sister and the 27-year-old woman drove to the parking lot and picked up the robbery victims. She heard their story, and she looked into Snapchat and found that someone using the Llama Me Taco name had direct-messaged her in past. That same Snapchat account used the name Christian Joel, according to the pretty Latina, who testified in court.
The social-media-savvy woman found that same person had Instagram and Facebook pages connected to his names, she testified. The Latina said she contacted that person and told him she wanted to meet and “I said it’s important.” He offered to meet her at Fireside Park in Oceanside, California, she said.
She explained in court that she hoped, “Maybe I can go get my brother’s stuff back.”
The Latina said she saw a white Chevy Cruz parked at Fireside Park, and she walked away from her brother and his friends still in her parked car, to approach the persons in the Chevy. She said the windows of her sedan are tinted and it was not possible to see into her car that night, a little before 9 p.m.
“I just walked out of my car and walked toward their car and said, "Hey can you just get out of your car to talk to me,” she testified.
But the man known as Lama Me Taco or Christian Joel was not persuaded to step out of his car. The big sister identified defendant Christian Joel Sims, seated in court, as the same man whom she spoke to that night. That man spoke to the driver, and the car pulled away and they stopped next to her car, and one man pointed his handgun toward her car, then pointed that gun skyward and fired shots into the air, before they drove away.
Oceanside police soon arrived. The big sister and her brother were each able to choose Christian Joel Sims from a photo lineup, identifying him as one of the persons who had fired a gun that night, according to testimonies.
Christian Joel Sims pleads not-guilty to four felonies, including robberies and negligent discharge of firearm. He is held in lieu of $200,000 bail and is next expected in court August 13 to set a date for trial.