In the third part of our series about top stories in the Morongo Basin in 2019, a Yucca Valley man who was holding his girlfriend hostage was shot and killed by SWAT team members. On June 27, Eric Sandoval, 41, beat Danielle Robarge, stomped on her head, and shot her in the head. When SWAT team members heard the gunshot, they stormed the house and shot and killed Sandoval. Robarge is recovering from her injuries.
The Morongo Basin suffered a double punch in July, with an
earthquake and then a monsoon in one day. On July 22 at 9:26 a.m., a magnitude
4.2 earthquake, centered 10 miles south of Twentynine Palms in Joshua Tree
National Park rattled our nerves but caused no damage or injuries. Then, at
about 2:30 p.m., a monsoon swept through Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms
Monday afternoon causing flash flooding and shutting down Highway 62 for hours.
A former Twentynine Palms Marine was convicted in August of
murdering two Twentynine Palms women. Rafael Aikens went to the home of Christy
McKissic, 31, and Renee Metcalf, 62, March 24, 2017. He shot both women, and
attempted to shoot McKissic’s 10-year-old daughter, before fleeing. He was
sentenced to two life sentences in prison.
We’ll have more of the Morongo Basin’s top stories of 2019
in future newscasts.