RIVERSIDE (CNS) – A 64-year-old man suspected of fatally shooting a Riverside motorist during a road rage confrontation, firing a bullet that narrowly missed one of the victim’s children before killing him, was charged with murder Tuesday.
Jose Juan Escobedo was additionally charged with four felony counts, two each of willful child cruelty and one each of attempted murder and shooting at a vehicle, according to court records. He was also facing sentence enhancing allegations of discharging a firearm causing great bodily injury.
Escobedo was arrested Thursday and booked into the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside on suspicion of murder and attempted murder for the slaying of 25-year-old Sergio Oporto of Riverside. He was being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
According to Officer Ryan Railsback of the Riverside Police Department, shortly before 4 p.m. Feb. 3, Oporto, his girlfriend and their 4- year-old and 3-month old children were driving along East La Cadena Drive when Escobedo allegedly began tailing them closely, angered for reasons still under investigation.
“As they neared the intersection of La Cadena and Citrus Street, the suspect vehicle pulled alongside them,” Railsback said. “The driver appeared to be angry (and) pulled out a firearm, then fired a single gunshot into the car. The bullet penetrated the passenger side of the victim’s car, over the seated 3-month-old child, striking Mr. Oporto in the head.”
Escobedo immediately fled the scene, the police spokesman alleged.
He said paramedics arrived moments later and found Oporto clinging to life. The victim was taken to Riverside Community Hospital, where he remained in a coma before dying Feb. 10.
The children and their mom were not injured.
Homicide detectives began piecing together evidence collected at the scene and elsewhere, developing leads that ultimately pointed to Escobedo as the alleged shooter, according to Railsback.
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