• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

IE soldier shooting suspect pleads not guilty

San Bernardino resident Ruben Jurado, 19, is accused of shooting 22-year-old soldier Christopher Sullivan at a house in San Bernardino on Friday, Dec. 23, 2011.

December 29, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The man accused of shooting an Afghanistan war veteran at his own homecoming party pleaded not guilty in a San Bernardino courtroom on Thursday.

Ruben Ray Jurado, 19, requested to be present at the hearing. He is facing an attempted murder charge after police say he shot 22-year-old Christopher Sullivan last Friday.

Sullivan, a Purple Heart recipient, remains in critical condition.

Authorities say Jurado got into a fight with Sullivan's younger brother over football teams. When Sullivan intervened, Jurado pulled out a gun and fired multiple shots, hitting the soldier in the neck.

Sullivan's family says the gunfire shattered his spine and left him paralyzed from the neck down.

Jurado's attorney, Michael Holmes, paints a very different picture of what happened that night.

Holmes says his client acted in self defense after he was attacked, kicked and punched repeatedly by numerous guests at the party as he tried to leave. The attorney also claims those at the party were drinking heavily and huffing nitrous oxide from balloons.

Holmes said his client and Sullivan were friends for many years, while Sullivan's family contends the two were acquaintances and that Jurado showed up to the party uninvited.

Sullivan was injured last year in a road side bomb attack in Afghanistan. He had been recovering in a hospital in Kentucky and had organized the gathering to celebrate his recovery and his return home.

Jurado was arrested earlier this week after he surrendered to police. He is being held on $1 million bail.

Load Comments