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Man pleads guilty to BB gun shooting of Oceanside business with sign supporting Black Lives Matter

Oceanside police SUV
Posted at 1:16 PM, Aug 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-28 16:16:05-04

VISTA (CNS) - A man who fired a BB gun at an Oceanside business that had put up a sign supporting the Black Lives Matter movement pleaded guilty today to charges of violating civil rights by damaging property and vandalism.

Steve Soto, 23, of Carlsbad, is slated to be sentenced Sept. 28 to one year in county jail stemming from the June 4 shooting that shattered a window at Bliss Tea & Treats.

Oceanside police Sgt. John McKean said Soto drove by the business, then fired a BB gun out the window of his vehicle.

The business had a sign in the window at the time that read: "Black owned, we stand with you," McKean said.

The sergeant said surveillance video helped detectives identify the vehicle used in the crime, leading to Soto's arrest on July 15.

He also pleaded guilty to an assault charge related to a May 28 incident involving a male victim and a misdemeanor vandalism count related to an unspecified July 4 incident.

He was facing a hate crime allegation stemming from the Bliss Tea & Treats shooting and other misdemeanor charges of discharging a BB gun in a grossly negligent manner stemming from unspecified incidents occurring in June and July, but those counts were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.