Riverside County

Man Charged in Freeway BB Gun Shooting Denies Attacks in Jailhouse Interview

Jesse Leal Rodriguez is charged with attempted murder in a BB gun shooting that shattered a Tesla's window.

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A jailed suspect pleaded not guilty to charges on Tuesday, and denies any involvement in a series of BB gun shootings that shattered windows of about 100 vehicles on Southern California freeways.

Jesse Leal Rodriguez was arrested last week and charged with attempted murder and other crimes in connection with a BB gun attack that broke a window of a Tesla.

The charges deal only with a single attack and not the many other similar attacks on dozens of vehicles in recent weeks. All the incidents are under investigation, and more charges could be filed in the future, prosecutors said Friday.

In a jailhouse interview with the Southern California News Group, Rodriguez denied being involved in any of the shootings.

“I didn’t do any of them,” he said. “Not one person has reported that they saw me shoot.”

The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office declined to directly address his statements.

Jesse Rodriguez is pictured in a photo provided by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Rodriguez is scheduled for arraignment on Tuesday. The 34-year-old said he doesn’t have an attorney.

Authorities said a Tesla was shot at Tuesday in the city of Norco and the vehicle’s video system captured footage of a maroon Chevrolet Trailblazer around the same time.

Later that evening, authorities pulled over a Trailblazer and arrested the driver, Rodriguez. A BB gun and BBs were found in the vehicle, a police statement said.

Rodriguez said he regularly traveled the freeways where the attacks happened because he worked in construction throughout Southern California. The Anaheim resident said he was two weeks from completing training to obtain his contractor’s license at the time of his arrest.

Investigators are still reviewing many videos from freeway and other cameras, officials said. In a statement, the Riverside County prosecutor's office said more charges are possible.

“While the DA’s Office has filed charges related to this May 25 BB gun shooting, there are dozens more incidents still being investigated,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement. “The DA’s Office anticipates more charges could be filed in the future.”

The news group reported that Rodriguez was convicted of firearms violations in 2010 and 2012 and he admitted in 2012 to being part of a criminal Orange County street gang. He said he is trying to put all that behind him.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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