Two suspects arrested after shots fired during police chase

Two Menifee men identified by authorities as gang members face charges including attempted murder of a peace officer after a police chase th...

Two Menifee men identified by authorities as gang members face charges including attempted murder of a peace officer after a police chase through the streets of Murrieta Friday.

Fernando Alonso, 26, and Jose Rodriguez, 32, were booked on charges that carry a $1 million bail after a three-hour police pursuit Friday morning in which they are accused of shooting at a patrol vehicle. Alonso was arrested following the car chase. Rodriguez, who remained at large for most of the day, was booked Friday night after being detained by Sheriff's Department gang unit deputies.

The incident began at 2:35 a.m. near Los Alamos Road and Hancock Avenue when a police officer noticed a black pickup truck with paper plates matching the description of a suspect vehicle involved in recent auto burglaries. After the truck pulled over and as the officer approached on foot, the driver sped off with the vehicle's headlights turned off, according to a news release.

Quickly joined by other police vehicles, the officer pursued the truck west on Los Alamos Road, north on Jefferson Avenue, then east on Kalmia Street and California Oaks Road. Near the intersection of California Oaks Road and Saradella Court, the driver of the suspect vehicle leaned out while the truck was in motion and fired multiple shots from a handgun at the officers, striking one of the patrol vehicles. The pursuit continued onto Clinton Keith Road over Interstate 215 to Whitewood Road.

At a point where Whitewood Road dead-ends just west of Keller Road, the suspect vehicle crashed through a fence and continued onto Keller Road. Officers lost sight of the truck for a moment and when they located it at the dead end of Keller Road south of Tracey Avenue, the suspects had fled. Officers found a handgun near the vehicle and began a search of the area, with the help of a police dog and a Sheriff's Department helicopter.

At 5:45 a.m., police received reports of someone ringing doorbells in the 29000 block of Goldenstar Way. Responding officers found a suspect, later identified as Alonso (left), hiding near some trash cans. He was taken into custody after a brief struggle in which the suspect and two officers sustained minor injuries.

Alonso admitted to being one of the suspects in the pickup truck, which was determined to be stolen out of Temecula. There was some discussion of closing nearby Oak Meadows Elementary School until school officials were informed by police that one suspect was in custody and the other had fled the area, according to a spokesperson for the Menifee Union School District. With police declaring the area safe, the school remained open.

At 6:30 p.m. Friday, Murrieta Police were contacted by investigators from the Sheriff's Department Perris Station's gang unit with news they had detained a subject who admitted to being the other suspect in the earlier chase. Along with Rodriguez, officers located a vehicle Rodriguez allegedly stole near the end of the police chase in order to escape the area.

Rodriguez is a known gang member who was on Post Release Community Supervision, according to police. He also is a product of Assembly Bill 109, which is the California State Realignment Act that allows less serious felony offenders to remain out of custody on supervision (probation) rather than be incarcerated in state prison.

In addition to the charge of attempted murder, Alonso was booked by Murrieta Police on the following charges:

-- Commission of a crime while on bail
-- Delay/resist a peace officer causing injury
-- Battery on a peace officer
-- Felon in possession of a firearm
-- Gang membership
-- Additional property crime charges

In addition to a charge of attempted murder, Rodriguez was booked by Sheriff's deputies for a violation of his post release community supervision.

Anyone with information regarding this case should contact Detective Sergeant Spencer Parker at 951-461-6364 or at sparker@MurrietaCA.gov. You can also provide information anonymously through "We Tip" at 1-800-78-CRIME.

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