Reporting Tony Lopez
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Carlito Montoya, the 22-year-old man accused of shooting four people in Old Sacramento on New Year’s Eve, has been formally charged, along with the married couple prosecutors say started the whole thing over a spilled drink.
At an arraignment on Tuesday, Montoya was charged with two counts of murder for allegedly shooting and killing Gabriel Cordova, a patron at the Sports Corner Café, and bar employee Daniel Ferrier during a fight. He was charged with one count of attempted murder for allegedly shooting security guard Stephen Walton, and was charged with assaulting Cordova’s wife, Christina, with a firearm.
Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi said Montoya could face the death penalty.
“The decision as to whether we actually seek the death penalty will be made in the next several weeks or months when we get all the information we need,” he said.
Montonya’s friends, Charles Fowler-Scholz and his wife, Amber Scholz, were also arraigned. They’re accused of starting the fight that led to the shooting after Cordova spilled some beer on Amber Scholz.
“The incident began with her being upset that our victim spilled a very minute amount of beer on her,” Grippi said.
According to the case summary obtained by CBS13, Amber Scholz tells detectives “a guy spilled his drink on me” and didn’t say sorry. “I think I might have said something rude to him before I left to rejoin my husband.”
Witnesses say Charles Fowler-Scholz asked her, “What do you want me to do about it?” He then walked over to the victim and broke a beer bottle over his skull.
As the two wrestled on the ground, bouncer Daniel Ferrier tried to break it up.
That’s when witnesses say Fowler-Scholz’s buddy Montoya, known as “Little Man,” made the big brutal move to reach into his waistband for a gun and started firing, killing Ferrier.
As a security guard, identified as Stephen Walton, rushed in, the report says, “Walton observes Montoya is armed and immediately begins to retreat.”
Then, with Gabriel Cordova on the ground and Fowler-Scholz on top of him, police say Montoya reached over his friend as he wrestled with the victim, pulled the trigger and just kept shooting.
Cordova, shot in the head, died at the scene.
Security guard Walton then exchanged gunfire with Montoya. Both were hit but would survive.
The report reveals Fowler-Scholz told his own version of what happened that night, saying to a detective, “I got my ass kicked in the bathroom, but I didn’t do any shooting. If Little Man did a shooting, that is his business.”
The report also reveals one other critical piece of information. The bar has surveillance cameras and, according to police, they were rolling that night and captured a big chunk of what happened, including the initial fight and the shooting.
Fowler-Scholz was charged with assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly hitting Cordova with the beer bottle. If convicted, Fowler-Scholz faces life in prison under the state’s three strikes law. In July 1996 he was convicted of two counts of robbery.
Amber Scholz was charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Although she didn’t have a weapon or hit anyone, the DA’s office said her words alone played a significant role in the deadly fight.
“If a person aid and abets or instigates an incident, a crime, even a murder, they can be equally guilty as the person who committed the actual physical crime,” Grippi said.
Montoya was released from the hospital into police custody on Jan. 5.
Click here to read the entire criminal complaint.