SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — District Attorney Dan Dow announced today that Visalia resident Joshua Lee Arnold, 42, has been sentenced to serve 26 years plus 28 years to life in prison for attempted murder and assault with a handgun during crime spree.

On April 9, Arnold pleaded no contest to three counts of attempted murder with deliberation and premeditation, and two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm.  Arnold 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. 

Finally, Arnold admitted he had a 2016 conviction for domestic violence resulting in great bodily injury, a “strike” under California’s three-strike law.  Arnold’s pleas were the result of a crime spree committed in southern San Luis Obispo County on the afternoon of Aug. 17, 2023.


On that day, at approximately 1 p.m., Arnold attempted to rob a clerk at the 7-Eleven in Grover Beach. Arnold was armed with a handgun, which he brandished at the clerk. The clerk refused to give Arnold money and attempted to call 9-1-1. Arnold walked around the store counter and fired a single shot at close range toward the clerk, who fell to the ground. 

The bullet Arnold fired exited the front window of 7-Eleven, narrowly missing two bystanders outside.  Arnold fired a second shot at the clerk as Arnold left the store. The clerk suffered a single bullet wound to the neck. Despite the victim’s wound, he was able to provide surveillance footage of the shooting to responding officers before he was transported to the hospital.

Less than one hour later, at approximately 1:50 p.m., Arnold stole cigarettes from Kachi Smoke Shop in Nipomo. Arnold did not use a firearm in the commission of that theft.

At approximately 3:30 p.m., Arnold attempted to carjack the driver of a Ford Mustang near the Panda Express in the Froom Ranch parking lot in the city of San Luis Obispo. The driver of that Ford Mustang, a 50-year-old San Luis Obispo resident, had just left Panda Express with his 19-year-old son. The 19-year-old male was seated in the front passenger seat during the attempted carjacking. 

The driver quickly accelerated in an attempt to flee from Arnold, who shot multiple rounds from his 9mm handgun toward the victims’ vehicle as they drove away. Two bullets entered the victims’ vehicle. One bullet struck the passenger in the back, and the driver transported his son to the hospital. 

Arnold then fled the scene in his vehicle, and law enforcement officers located him approximately half an hour later in the nearby San Luis Ranch neighborhood, where he was taken into custody without further incident. Both shooting victims were treated for their injuries and released from local hospitals. 

In the hours, days, and weeks following Arnold’s shocking crime spree, countless law enforcement professionals from multiple agencies throughout San Luis Obispo County, including the Grover Beach Police Departmentthe San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Officethe San Luis Obispo Police Department, and the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation, thoroughly investigated each of Arnold’s crimes. These law enforcement professionals’ tireless efforts produced the overwhelming evidence necessary to hold Arnold accountable.

Superior Court Judge Michael S. Frye imposed Arnold’s sentence. Arnold will be transported to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to begin serving his sentence forthwith.