Southern California

Freeway Shooting Victim: “There Was No Reason for Him to Shoot Me”

Ken Baker was on his way home from work Monday when he was shot while driving on a Southern California freeway

Kenneth Baker was on a Southern California freeway on his way home from work Monday when the window of his truck exploded.

He had just gotten off work after 4 p.m. and was making the transition from the Golden State (5) Freeway to the Artesia (91) Freeway in Fullerton when he noticed a man in a lane to his left pointing an object at him.

"I thought somebody threw something at my car," Baker said. "I looked at my T-shirt. It was full of blood."

Baker survived being shot at in a bizarre incident he said was unprovoked and police had no motive for.

"There was no road rage. There was no contact," he said. "There was no reason for him to shoot me."

Instead of stopping, Baker chased the vehicle at speeds up to 95 mph, weaving in and out of rush-hour traffic, until police made an arrest 15 miles away.

Baker pursued his assailant despite the 911 operator telling him, "That's probably not the best idea if he is shooting at you," according to audio of the call released Wednesday.


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Baker knows what he did was foolish, chasing an armed man in his car.

"I don't know the difference between brave and what is stupid," he said, with a smile. "I didn't want this man to get away."

Jerry Valentin, 32, of Scottsdale, Ariz., was charged Wednesday with one felony count each of attempted murder, shooting at an occupied vehicle, aggravated assault, and unlawful possession of an unregistered firearm inside a vehicle.

He also faces sentencing enhancements for personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury, personal use of a firearm, and great bodily injury, prosecutors said.

Baker, meanwhile, continues to recover from wounds to his arm.

He has glass shards in his face. His truck was shot up, windows blown out, driver's seat saturated in blood.

"I was very lucky," he said. "I almost lost my life."

Robert Kovacik contributed to this report.

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