Two men charged in an incident in which one of them allegedly opened fire on a San Diego police lieutenant who tried to pull their car over in Poway must stand trial on assault with a firearm and shooting at an occupied vehicle counts, a judge ruled Friday.
Ramona resident Michael Eugene Rains, 28, and transient Daniel Patrick Schwartzel, 18, are charged in connection with the shooting last Nov. 16 on Poway Road near Espola Road. They each pleaded not guilty in November.
San Diego police Lt. Steven Shaw testified during a preliminary hearing that he attempted to stop a white SUV about 8 p.m. because he suspected that the driver --Schwartzel -- was under the influence.
Shaw said he turned on his overhead lights and assumed the the slowing SUV was going to pull over when he heard a popping sound.
"I was pretty convinced it was a gunshot," Shaw testified.
As the SUV slowed, Shaw said he heard three or four more "pops" and saw muzzle flashes coming right at him from the passenger side of the SUV.
"I felt I was being shot at," the lieutenant said. "I ducked down. I felt I was being ambushed."
The lieutenant said he was scared as he followed the SUV west on Poway Road.
"I was scared of dying," Shaw said. "I thought I'd be shot and killed."
Shaw, who was not injured, said the SUV finally pulled over near the intersection of Poway and Garden roads. He said he drew his service weapon and waited for other officers to take the suspects into custody.
Officers testified that they found a book safe containing a gun and three rounds of ammunition inside the SUV.
Matching expended shell casings were also found on Poway Road near Espola Road, police said.
Following the preliminary hearing, Judge Michael Smyth found that enough evidence was presented for the defendants to stand trial May 6.
Rains is also charged with resisting arrest.
-City News Service