Attempted murder charges filed against Anaheim man suspected in BB gun freeway shootings

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- Charges were filed Friday against a 34-year-old Anaheim man suspected in a rash of attacks involving BBs or pellets shot through vehicles' windows on freeways in Riverside, Orange and Los Angeles counties.

Jesse Leal Rodriguez was charged with three counts of attempted murder and three counts of assault on a person causing great bodily injury, according to the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.

There have been no new shootings reported since Rodriguez was arrested earlier this week.

Police say it's unclear if Rodriguez acted alone or if he's responsible for other shootings, but roughly 100 vehicles have had their windows shot out since mid-April in Riverside, Orange and Los Angeles counties. Those are still actively being investigated.

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Authorities on Wednesday announced the arrest of a man believed to be responsible for a recent string of BB gun shootings on the 91 Freeway.

Rodriguez is being held on $750,000 bail after police arrested him Tuesday evening. He is set to be arraigned on June 1.

"The DA's office anticipates more charges could be filed in the future," according to an agency statement.

Rodriguez was taken into custody Tuesday after the driver of a Tesla reported his window was shot out near the intersection of Hamner Avenue and Hidden Valley Parkway in Norco.

Because of the high-tech nature of the Tesla, authorities say an on-board camera captured video of the suspect vehicle - a red SUV.

Rodriguez was taken into custody near the 91 Freeway and Tyler Street, after Riverside police stopped him for questioning because his red Chevy Trailblazer matched the description of the suspect vehicle. The three attempted murder charges are for the three people that were inside the Tesla.

If convicted as charged in the current case, he could face up to 57 years to life in state prison.

Rodriguez's criminal history included convictions for carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in public and participating in criminal street gang activity. He was sentenced to 32 months in state prison in April 2013. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said he was paroled in January 2015 after serving his full term, per law. He was discharged from parole in January 2018.

Investigators have asked victims to call 911 immediately because it can help locate where and when the cases are happening, using clues found by checking Caltrans cameras along the freeways. The CHP has boosted patrols and may be a short distance away and have a better chance of capturing a potential suspect if the call is made right away.

A CHP officer's cruiser recently sustained a damaged window on the eastbound 91 at the 241 Tollway in Anaheim Hills that may have been part of the crime spree.

"An officer was finishing up an enforcement stop and completing notes on the citation when he heard a noise and the back window was shattered. There were big rigs going by at the same time,'' so it might have been a rock that caused the damage, CHP Officer Florentino Olivera said earlier. We're not sure what shattered the window.''

City News Service contributed to this report.
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