Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Suspect arrested in San Diego freeway shooting that wounded student [Updated]

April 21, 2011 |  8:39 am

Freeway An arrest has been made in a San Diego freeway shooting this month that wounded a 21-year-old student on her way to the University of San Diego, the county district attorney announced Thursday.

Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis said the California Highway Patrol identified a suspect by matching DNA from shell casings left on California Highway 163 after the shooting spree.

"This was just good old-fashioned police work," Dumanis said during an interview on KUSI-TV.

Dumanis declined to name the suspect. The CHP has announced an 11 a.m. news conference.

The alleged shooter may have fired upward of 12 shots along the freeway during the April 5 morning rush-hour just north of Mission Valley. The shot that wounded the student penetrated her car before hitting her.

A second driver also reported that his vehicle was struck by a bullet but he was not injured.

Investigators have presumed that the shooter chose his targets at random.

Dumanis said the suspect would probably be arraigned Friday and faced possible charges of attempted murder, assault with great bodily injury and shooting into an occupied vehicle.

She declined to say whether the suspect's DNA was on file because he has a criminal record. The wounded student "is doing just fine" after surgery, she said.

[Updated, 4:30 p.m.: The suspect was identified as Stephen Joseph Dragasits, 58. The CHP said he was a transient living in a trailer. He was convicted this year for throwing rocks at passing cars.]

-- Tony Perry in San Diego


Onion spill closes two southbound lanes of 710 Freeway

Two fires were set in homes as people slept, authorities say

Obama's L.A. visit: Westside residents urged to stay home to avoid gridlock

Photo: Stephen Joseph Dragasits. Credit: California Highway Patrol