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Man convicted of 2013 shooting in East Palo Alto sentenced to prison

Ernesto Dominguez Cuellar gets 39 years to life for shooting and injuring YMCA wellness coach

A 35-year-old man convicted of shooting and injuring a YMCA wellness coach as he walked home from work in 2013 in East Palo Alto was sentenced today, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney.

A judge sentenced Ernesto Dominguez Cuellar to 39 years to life in prison, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

In February, a jury convicted Cuellar of premeditated attempted murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, including enhancements for using a gun, according to prosecutors.

On July 24, 2013, around 3 p.m., Cuellar approached the 22-year-old victim on a skateboard as the victim arrived at the gate of his home in the 600 block of Bell Street, prosecutors said.

Cuellar, a member of the YMCA, fired five times at the victim, striking him twice. Cuellar then fled on the skateboard but was spotted by the victim's father and grandfather, who were in the garage at the time of the shooting, according to prosecutors.

Police arrested Cuellar later that day in the 1500 block of Ursula Way. He was identified as the suspect by the victim's father and grandfather and investigators found a .38-caliber handgun and ammunition at his home, prosecutors said.

Cuellar denied any involvement in the shooting.

The victim was hospitalized for seven hours and spent the next eight months recovering from the gunshot wounds, according to prosecutors.

An attorney representing Cuellar declined to comment on the case.

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