Tesla window breakers charged with BB bullet damage to car

An Anaheim man is accused of using a BB gun to smash the window of a Tesla car in Norco, S.C., and may be involved in a previous series of attacks on Southern California highways that lasted for weeks. On Friday (May 28), he was charged with three counts of attempted murder.

“It’s very dangerous for people to shoot their vehicles with BB guns or pellet guns when they’re traveling at high speeds on roads and freeways,” Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said, according to City News Service. “Attacks on car windows can easily frighten drivers and cause major accidents. Fortunately, no one has been seriously harmed by these crimes so far, and we are all relieved.”

Jesse Leal Rodriguez, 34, was arrested on Tuesday night after his vehicle was identified in connection with the attack in Norco and a similar attack that later occurred on the 91 Freeway.

In addition to the attempted murder charge, Rodriguez is charged with three counts of assault likely to cause serious bodily injury. He is being held in the Robert Presley jail on $750,000 bail. He is scheduled to make his initial appearance at the Riverside Hall of Justice next Tuesday, as the courthouse will be closed next Monday for a holiday in observance of Memorial Day.

Prosecutors noted that the defendant is currently charged only in connection with the Norco attack. And about 100 other attacks in Riverside, Orange and Los Angeles counties since mid-April are still under active investigation.

A statement from authorities said, “The prosecutor’s office expects to file additional charges in the future.”

The Tesla carrying three people was attacked as it traveled through the intersection of Hamner Ave. and Hidden Valley Parkway at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, shattering a window, but no one inside the car was injured.

The prosecutor’s office said Tesla’s video system captured the vehicle that fired the BB round – a maroon Chevrolet Trailblazer. the images were provided to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office, which responded to the shooting.

Authorities found the same or similar SUV suspect vehicles in two other window-breaking attacks around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. The victim called 911 on Tuesday on the 91 Freeway near Pierce Street, providing details, and Riverside police stopped the suspicious vehicle an hour later in the parking lot of the Galleria at Tyler shopping center. Riverside Police detained Rodriguez at the scene and turned him over to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) for further questioning. Rodriguez was eventually arrested.

CHP Chief Amanda Ray said earlier this week, “I commend the diligent efforts of our investigators who continue to devote significant time to finding the perpetrators of the irrational pellet gun attacks that have occurred on S.C. highways over the past several months.” “CHP takes highway violence very seriously and actively investigates each case.”

The agency is continuing to pursue whether Rodriguez is one of the perpetrators, or the sole assailant, in the approximately 100 attacks that have occurred on the 91 Freeway and other highways in the three Southern California counties.