A Kerman man is suspected of being the gunman who randomly shot at motorists on Highway 145 west of Fresno in November and December and has been charged with five counts of assault with a semi-automatic firearm.
Jorge Javier Gracia, 42, is accused of using a handgun during the crime spree.
A criminal complaint also says Gracia has prior convictions for rape in 1997 and assault with the intent to commit rape in 1999.
Jorge Javier Gracia, who is in the Fresno County Jail, is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Fresno County Superior Court.
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If convicted of the shooting charges, he faces life in prison. But under an elderly parole program, he could be released early after reaching the age of 60 and serving 25 years in prison, prosecutors said.
Gracia, who is in the Fresno County Jail, is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Fresno County Superior Court.
Jail log records show Gracia was arrested by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. He was initially being held in lieu of $312,000 bail on a misdemeanor charge of driving on a suspended license and a felony charge of exhibiting a firearm to a person in a vehicle.
Fresno and Madera County law officers said in December there could as many as to 10 shootings in which drivers were randomly fired upon.
Detectives were looking for a dark-colored, four-wheel-drive pickup with oversize tires and an extended or crew cab, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said during a news conference on Dec. 21. She was joined at the conference by Madera County Sheriff Jay Varney and California Highway Patrol Capt. Eric Johnson, commander for the Fresno area. Valley Crime Stoppers also upped the reward to $3,000 for anyone who provided information leading to an arrest.
The initial round of shootings happened between Nov. 27 and Dec. 7 in Fresno and Madera counties. In each case, the victims said they heard loud bangs as a vehicle passed them heading the opposite direction.
One person was injured in the random shootings, a woman who sustained shrapnel wounds, apparently from broken glass, Mims said last month. She warned at the time that if the shootings persisted that a murder investigation could result.
Mims called the hunt for the shooter a top priority.
Sheriff spokesman Tony Botti said the sheriff will give more details about Gracia’s arrest at a news conference on Friday.