San Bernardino DA Investigating Mysterious Pot Shop Shooting. Were There Any Links to Mayor's Meeting?
The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office is now investigating a robbery-shooting that occurred at a shuttered marijuana dispensary just hours after a meeting there involving Mayor John Valdivia.
San Bernardino police handed the case over to the DA on Dec. 17. Police cited a lack of available leads and the desire to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest since Valdivia is considered a witness in the case.
The robbery-shooting occurred at approximately 3:50 p.m. on Nov. 14, just one week after Valdivia was elected mayor. Valdivia was not present, but had been at the closed dispensary for a meeting with several individuals just two hours earlier. Two of them were still there when the robbery occurred and one of them, marijuana activist Sung II Kim, was shot in the ankle.
Valdivia says the robbery had nothing to do with his conference, which he characterizes as an opportunity to meet with prominent supporters of marijuana reform in the city.
“Any suggestion that I am connected to the shooting is dishonest at best, and politically motivated at worst,” the mayor said in a statement. He noted that he phoned authorities as soon as he found out about the incident.
Police have been investigating any possible links but so far have found nothing. Of potential concern, however, is the criminal history of one of the meeting’s attendees, Hanhsing “David” Li, 65, of Highland. Li was charged with eight felonies this summer for allegedly operating an illegal dispensary in the city. Valdivia has not said why he would be meeting with such an individual or what he knew about Li’s criminal history at the time of the meeting. Li was with Kim when he was shot.
With the case now in the hands of San Bernardino County’s DA, Police Chief Jarrod Burguan says investigators hope to benefit from “a separate set of eyes.”