A bishop of the Orthodox Catholic church was shot outside his Home Gardens church building late Tuesday night, the victim of an apparent robbery attempt, deputies said.
Bishop Antonio Garduno was working in his office at 10 p.m. at the our Lady of Tepeyac Orthodox Catholic Church in the 13400 block of Magnolia Avenue, off McKinley Street, when he heard a commotion in the church courtyard, Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez said.
Garduno, 51, came out to the front of the church compound to see what was going on and was confronted by four juveniles who opened fire, Gutierrez said. Garduno returned to his office and dialed 911 to report that he had been shot.
Garduno was taken by ambulance to Riverside Community Hospital in Riverside where he underwent surgery early this morning, Gutierrez said. He was expected to survive.
Sheriff’s officials said the four teens fled after the shooting. The shooting may have been motivated by possible robbery, Gutierrez said. Deputies were still combing the church early this morning to find out if any valuables were taken.
Garduno appeared to be the only person inside the church office at the time of the shooting.
No other injuries were reported. No arrests had been made and the juveniles had not been identified early this morning.
Yellow police tape surrounded the Spanish-style church where and about a dozen deputies and forensic officers surveyed the grounds, under pale street lights. An American and Mexican flag stood at the entrance of the church which includes multiple buildings on the property.
The church sits near apartment complexes and is just a few blocks away from another Catholic church in the unincorporated Home Gardens neighborhood off Highway 91 between Riverside and Corona.
The community has gone through major transformations in past years and some regions have been known to have a history of gang activity.
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