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Lawyer of soldier shooting suspect claims self defense

A lawyer for the 19-year-old suspect accused of shooting a decorated soldier says his client was acting in self defense.

December 27, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A lawyer for a 19-year-old suspect accused of shooting a decorated soldier says his client was acting in self defense.

San Bernardino County prosecutors charged 19-year-old Ruben Ray Jurado with attempted murder Tuesday.

Jurado was held at the West Valley Detention Center on $1 million bail.

Jurado, who allegedly shot 22-year-old Christopher Sullivan at Sullivan's homecoming party in San Bernardino Friday, surrendered to authorities Monday.

"My son said, 'He turned himself in.' I couldn't believe it. My heart dropped. I cried," said the victim's mother, Suzanne Sullivan.

Sullivan's family is devastated by the incident. The soldier recently survived a roadside bomb in Afghanistan and received a purple heart. Sullivan recovered at a hospital in Kentucky and organized the homecoming party on Friday. The Sullivan family said Jurado came to the party uninvited.

"That's not a friend. They were acquaintances," Suzanne Sullivan said.

At the party, a dispute over football teams escalated, and Jurado allegedly punched Sullivan's little brother. Sullivan tried to intervene, and police say that's when the suspect fired multiple shots.

"Him and Chris started wrestling on the floor, and he got the gun out and shot it one time up in the air, and I don't know what happened next, then he shot it two more times," said Suzanne Sullivan.

Chris Sullivan was hit twice by gunfire. One of the bullets shattered his spine, leaving him paralyzed.

Jurado's lawyer, Michael Holmes, said his client acted in self defense after he was attacked.

"My client sustained extensive amounts of injuries prior to the alleged shooting, has some facial as well as some injuries to his ribs and backs, where he'd been kicked and punched by numerous people," Holmes said.

Sullivan's family said Holmes' claims were not true and questioned why Jurado would bring a gun to a homecoming party.

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