‘Person of interest’ in Monday’s freeway shooting picked up in LA

City News Service

A man possibly responsible for a shooting spree on two San Diego freeways that left one motorist wounded was taken into custody Tuesday in the Lake View Terrace area of Los Angeles, authorities said.

The man, labeled a person of interest’’ in the shootings, was taken into custody during a traffic stop about 10 a.m. at the Foothill (210) Freeway near Osborne Street, said California Highway Patrol Officer Jesse Udovich.

The car he was driving had the same license number as the one wanted in connection with the four shootings on Interstate 805 and Interstate 5, which were reported within about 20 minutes late Monday morning, authorities said.

According to the CHP, the shots were fired from a white 2006 Chevrolet Malibu registered to Enrique Ayon out of Lancaster in northern Los Angeles County.

The 24-year-old Ayon — described as Latino, 5 feet 8 and 190 pounds — was being sought as a person of interest,’' according to the CHP, which described him as armed and dangerous.

A description of Ayon’s car and its license plate, 5POM917, were posted on electronic signs on major freeways Monday night and Tuesday.

San Diego police Lt. Darryl Hoover said the Malibu, carrying at least two men, had been involved in a hit-and-run collision on East San Ysidro Boulevard shortly before the shooting spree began about 10:30 a.m. on northbound Interstate 805, near East Plaza Boulevard in National City. At least one bullet hit a car in that assault, though no one was hurt.

A short time later, a shooting on Interstate 805 at Mesa College Drive wounded a 26-year-old man, Hoover said. Medics took him to a hospital for treatment of a non-life-threatening calf wound.

Within the next 15 or so minutes, gunfire again erupted on Interstate 805 near state Route 163, where a CHP officer was assisting a motorist, and on northbound Interstate 5 in the area of Del Mar Heights Road, according to Hoover. An ambulance apparently was targeted in the latter shooting, he said.

Ballistics tests were under way this morning on slugs and bullet fragments recovered from the targeted vehicles and the wounded man’s leg, according to the CHP public affairs Officer Art Athans.

The preliminary evidence indicates they were all from the same gun and of the same caliber,’' Athans told news crews.

CHO officers questioned several people after traveling to the Malibu

owner’s registered home address.

Our investigators, in cooperation with investigators in Los Angeles, made contact at the address up there,’' Athans said.I believe they developed leads and were pursuing those leads until ... the stop was made on the vehicle.’'

The spokesman said he had no information as to what was found in the car.’'

A driver who spotted the suspect vehicle traveling through Los Angeles helped authorities rapidly track it down, according to Athans.

The big crack in the case ... came from the fact that this was put out across Southern California on all the changeable message signs,’' Athans said.An alert motorist up in the Los Angeles area spotted what he believed to be the wanted vehicle, and a stop was made.’'

Following the shootings, authorities shut down several-mile-long stretches of northbound freeway lanes around the sites of the assaults to allow officers to walk the roadways and scour them for shell casings and other potential evidence. The closures, which extended into Monday’s evening rush hour, caused extensive congestion as motorists were detoured around the crime scenes.

So for the people (who) were inconvenienced, we say thank you for taking part in helping in our investigation to ... collect any evidence that could have been out there on the freeway,’' he said.

The extensive freeway searches, though unavoidable, apparently proved fruitless.

It’s my understanding that no additional evidence was found at those locations,’' Athans said.

As of this morning, the sole victim of the shooting spree had been released from hospital care, according to Athans, and is resting at an undisclosed location right now.’'

Investigators had no immediate insight into what type of mindset’’ prompted the shooter’s apparentrandom targeting’’ of strangers on busy freeways, the spokesman said, adding that detectives will continue developing leads in the case.

Our investigation continues,’' Athans told reporters.This is not the end of the investigation.’'