Man sentenced to 354 years in prison in highway shootings

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A man who randomly shot at motorists in two central California counties over a two-month span was sentenced to 354 years to life in prison.

Jorge Gracia was sentenced Monday by a Fresno judge, the Fresno Bee reported .

A jury last month found Gracia guilty of shooting randomly at cars along Highway 145 in Fresno and Madera counties in six separate occasions.

He was arrested on Jan. 8 after he drove alongside an armed, off-duty California Department of Corrections officer and pointed a handgun at him through the window of his pickup truck.

The officer drove away and called police as Gracia followed him to a gas station, where the officer drew his handgun and ordered him to get out of his pickup truck and lie on the ground.

Police said bullets from a .380-caliber handgun found in Gracia’s pickup matched the bullet casings recovered after at least 10 motorists were targeted in shootings in last November and December on roads in the Kerman area, west of Fresno. Officials also found methamphetamine, officials said.

Several vehicles were struck by bullets. In each case, the victims said a pickup truck passed them heading the opposite direction. A woman was wounded by shrapnel.

Detectives learned that Gracia often traveled the area where the shootings occurred and placed him in the area where the shootings occurred through cellphone records.

“He was terrorizing our community,” prosecutor Katherine Plante said of Gracia after his conviction. “People have the right to drive in their cars without being afraid of being shot, and he took that right away from us for a period of time.”


Information from: The Fresno Bee,