18-Year-Old Charged with Murder of U.S. Marine in Twentynine Palms and Attempted Murder of Two Others

San Bernardino County, California – A tragic incident unfolded in Twentynine Palms as an 18-year-old man stands accused of fatally shooting a U.S. Marine, Robert James McDonald, and the attempted murder of two others. The victim, an active-duty gunnery sergeant stationed with the Marine Corps Logistic Operations Group, was gunned down while sitting in his car with his dog, according to authorities in the area.

The events leading up to the shooting began when sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of a disturbance involving a group of four or five individuals near Old Dale Road and Alpine Avenue. The situation escalated when one of the suspects, identified as Rudy Garcia Jr., fired shots towards a neighbor and another individual, prompting panic in the area. Fortunately, no one was injured in this initial confrontation.

McDonald’s fatal encounter with Garcia occurred shortly after, as the young man allegedly attempted to carjack the marine without warning. The shooting resulted in McDonald sustaining multiple gunshot wounds, causing him to lose control of his vehicle and collide with another car. Despite the efforts of sheriff’s deputies to provide medical assistance, McDonald tragically succumbed to his injuries at the scene.

Following the shooting, Garcia fled the scene but was apprehended shortly afterward by law enforcement. A handgun believed to have been used in the crime was recovered by the Sheriff’s Department in the vicinity of the incident. Garcia now faces charges of murder, attempted carjacking, attempted robbery, as well as counts of attempted murder and assault with a firearm.

Authorities are urging anyone with information regarding the case to come forward and provide assistance to the ongoing investigation. Detective Shawn Thurman can be reached at (909) 890-4904, while anonymous tips can be submitted through the Crime Stoppers hotline at (800) 78CRIME or online at wetip.com.