Felony charges were filed Wednesday against a convicted felon accused of shooting at a Menifee motorist during a road rage confrontation, then leading sheriff’s deputies on an eight-mile pursuit and finally trying unsuccessfully to flee on foot.
Cain Avalos Linares, who was arrested Friday after the chase that ended in a drainage canal on the south end of Menifee, is charged with making criminal threats, two counts of gun assault, felony evading, driving under the influence, possession of an assault rifle and a sentence-enhancing allegation of discharging a firearm from a vehicle.
He pleaded not guilty during his arraignment before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Michael Donner, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for Feb. 1 at the Riverside Hall of Justice.
Linares, 26, is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Moulton, the defendant became incensed during an encounter with another motorist at the intersection of Matthews and Palomar roads about 1:20 p.m. Friday. The circumstances were unclear, but Moulton alleged that Linares pulled a gun and shouted threats at the driver, then fired a shot.
The motorist called 911, providing a description of the alleged shooter and his vehicle. A motorcycle unit spotted it moments later in the area of Sherman Road and state Route 74, less than a mile west of where the confrontation occurred.
The deputy signaled Linares to stop, but he allegedly accelerated instead, heading south on city streets while driving well over the speed limit, according to Moulton.
Other deputies joined the pursuit, which went into the Heritage Lakes neighborhood, where the defendant allegedly drove off of paved streets and into the brush alongside the Salt Creek drainage canal.
Linares abandoned his car and fled into the canal carrying a rifle, Moulton alleged. Deputies established a perimeter and initiated a search of the area, eventually locating Linares east of Lindenberger Road, according to Moulton.
The convicted felon was arrested without a struggle. The rifle was found nearby, and inside the defendant’s vehicle, deputies seized an alleged stolen handgun and other stolen goods, Moulton said.
According to court records, Linares has a prior conviction for possession of drugs for sale.