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Alleged Kmart shooter case may proceed to trial

August 24, 2011|By Maria Hsin, maria.hsin@latimes.com

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has ruled that the case against a man accused of shooting two Burbank police officers can proceed to trial.

The ruling came after two days of testimony this week during the preliminary trial for James Willard, who faces two counts of attempted murder and other charges in the July 2010 incident in front of a Kmart in Burbank.

Willard allegedly shot two Burbank police officers after he was able to wrangle one of the guns while under arrest at Kmart for alleged shoplifting.

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Burbank Police Officer Alex Gutierrez was shot repeatedly in the chest, but was protected by his bulletproof vest. Officer Derek Green, a seven-year veteran, was shot in the hand and suffered a leg injury.

Willard is currently in custody; his bail has been increased from $1 million to $3 million.

Superior Court officials said Willard is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 7 in Pasadena, during which he may enter a plea to avoid a jury trial.

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