FRESNO (AP) — A California man suspected of randomly shooting at motorists in Fresno and Madera counties over a two-month span was arrested after he pointed his gun at an off-duty correctional officer, authorities said Friday.
Jorge Gracia, 42, was arrested on Jan. 8 after he drove alongside an armed, off-duty California Department of Corrections officer and pointed a handgun at him through the window of his pickup truck, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said.
The officer drove away and called police as Gracia followed him to a gas station where the officer drew his handgun and ordered him to get out of his pickup truck and lie on the ground.
Gracia complied and was arrested without incident, Mims said.
He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, being a felon in possession of a firearm and drug possession.
Gracia pleaded not guilty during a court appearance Friday, The Fresno Bee reported. If convicted of the shooting charges, he could face life in prison.
Police said bullets from a .380-caliber handgun found in Gracia’s pickup matched the bullet casings recovered after at least 10 motorists were targeted in shootings in November and December on roads in the Kerman area. Officials also found methamphetamine, the sheriff said.
Eight vehicles were struck by bullets in Fresno County and another two in Madera County. In each case, the victims said a pickup truck passed them heading the opposite direction. A woman was wounded by shrapnel.
Mims said detectives learned that Gracia often traveled the area where the shootings occurred.