San Luis Obispo County crime spree shooter sentenced to 54 years to life

June 12, 2024

Joshua Arnold


A judge has sentenced the man who shot two people during a crime spree in San Luis Obispo County last August to 54 years to life in prison.

Joshua Arnold, 42, of Visalia’s crime spree included two shootings, grand theft, an attempted carjacking and breaking into an unoccupied residential unit. 

On Aug. 17, 2023, at about 1 p.m., Arnold tried to rob the 7-Eleven on Grand Avenue in Grover Beach. When a male clerk refused to give Arnold money and attempted to call 911, the Visalia man shot him in the neck. Arnold also fired a shot that missed the clerk, went through the 7-Eleven window and narrowly missed two bystanders outside the store, according to the SLO County District Attorney’s Office.

Responders transported the victim to a local hospital for treatment of a non-life-threatening injury. Despite the clerk’s wound, he was able to provide surveillance footage of the shooting to officers.

Driving a black Ford Mustang, Arnold headed south to Nipomo where he stole cigarettes from Kachi Smoke Shop. He did not use a firearm while stealing the cigarettes. 

Arnold then drove to SLO, where at about 3:30 p.m., he attempted to carjack the driver of another Ford Mustang near the Panda Express in the parking lot on Froom Ranch Way. The driver of that Mustang, a 50-year-old San Luis Obispo resident, had just left Panda Express with his 19-year-old son, who was in the front passenger seat. 

The SLO resident quickly accelerated in an attempt to flee from Arnold. But, Arnold shot multiple rounds at the victims’ vehicle from his 9mm handgun. Two bullets entered the car, one of which struck the passenger in the back. The driver then transported his son to a local hospital, where he received treatment and was eventually released.

Arnold fled the scene in his vehicle. Following up on a tip, officers located the suspect near a home on Legacy Avenue in the San Luis Ranch development and took him into custody at about 5 p.m.

Police were advised that two other people were inside the residence and possibly armed. Officers secured the area and asked residents to shelter in place. Shortly after 8 p.m., officers determined the home was empty. They later recovered Arnold’s gun at a nearby model home.

On April 9, 2024, Arnold pleaded no contest to three counts of attempted murder with deliberation and premeditation and two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm. The Visalia man also admitted he personally used a firearm in the commission of all three attempted murders and personally inflicted great bodily injury on two of the three attempted murder victims. Additionally, Arnold admitted he had a 2016 conviction for domestic violence that resulted in great bodily injury, a strike under California’s three-strikes law. 

Judge Michael Frye sentenced Arnold to 26 years, plus 28 years to life in prison. 


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This violent, repeat ofender, attempted murderer deserves life in prison without any possiblilty of parole.

That sort of sentencing represents a proper serious attitude towards firearm crimes.

Ya but will he actually stay in jail? Or will they eventually let him free as they have other criminals? He is obviously a danger to society.

After a few years, they will secretly release him back into society since they don’t want to deal with him either and he will become our problem again. Sick.

54 years? He’ll be 96 when he gets out. If he’s a danger to society at that age, good for him.