Anaheim man sentenced to 10 years in prison for series of freeway shootings

A man accused of a series of shootings in which he fired a BB gun at passing cars on roads and highways in Southern California last year was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday after pleading guilty to three counts .

Jesse Leal Rodriguez, 35, of Anaheim accepted the Riverside County District Attorney’s plea agreement and admitted to committing three assaults with a deadly weapon. At one point, he faced three counts of attempted murder and was suspected in at least six similar shootings along Southern California freeways and roads.

Law enforcement officials saw a series of freeway and street shootings for about a month in 2021, with drivers smashing windows or damaging cars on the road, particularly along the 91 Freeway.

The incidents led to a wide-ranging investigation by the California Highway Patrol, following a series of car-to-car shootings in Riverside and Orange counties, which ultimately led to Rodriguez’s arrest in May 2021.

The three charges were filed for three separate shootings, including a May 25, 2021 incident in which Rodriguez’s maroon Chevrolet Trailblazer was caught by a Tesla’s backup camera.

The Tesla’s rear window was shattered near Hamner Avenue and Hidden Valley Parkway in Norco, prosecutors said, and Rodriguez’s vehicle was seen in the video with the driver’s side window down.

The Trailblazer was also linked to a second incident on the same day along the 91 Freeway near Tyler Avenue in Riverside, in which a victim spotted the vehicle firing from behind her car as she was changing lanes.

In a third incident, Rodriguez pled guilty to a shooting on the 91 Freeway near Magnolia Avenue. The victim in the incident reported hearing a bang and her rear window shatter. Shortly after the window shattered, she reported seeing a dark-colored SUV drive by on her right.

Rodriguez was pulled over at a mall about 30 minutes after the incident. Authorities found a BB gun and BBs.

Rodriguez had previously claimed he was not involved in the freeway shooting after he was arrested, and told the Southern California News Group in a prison interview last year that authorities were “trying to get me to confess to things that I didn’t do”, and that he was “not a shooter”.

Rodriguez instead claimed he took the guns found in his car from his stepson.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-08-08/anaheim-man-sentenced-10-years-in-prison-for-series-of-freeway-shootings-southern-california Anaheim man sentenced to 10 years in prison for series of freeway shootings

Alley Einstein

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