A 28-year-old man accused of forcing a motorist at gunpoint to lead sheriff’s deputies on a high-speed chase in Mecca is scheduled to be arraigned Friday via video conference from lock up before a judge at the Banning Justice Center.

Kidnapping and other felony charges were filed Thursday against a 28-year-old man accused of forcing a motorist at gunpoint to lead sheriff’s deputies on a high-speed chase in Mecca.

Gutberto Antonio Rodriguez was arrested Sept. 3 in North Shore after being on the lam for several weeks. He remains behind bars in lieu of $250,000 bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.

Along with the kidnapping count, Rodriguez is charged with criminal threats, assault with a semi-automatic firearm and kidnapping during the commission of a carjacking, along with several weapons-related sentence-enhancing allegations.

According to Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Steve Davis, Rodriguez was the subject of a manhunt stemming from the Aug. 18 chase that started when sheriff’s deputies attempted to pull over a car near Lincoln Street and 62nd Avenue in Mecca when Rodriguez, who was a passenger, allegedly held the driver at gunpoint and “instructed the driver to evade deputies.”

The brief high-speed chase was terminated near Avenue 60 and Johnson Street, where Rodriguez ran away and a search ensued, Davis said.

Deputies Sept. 3 located the suspect in the 101000 block of Sea Breeze Drive in North Shore, where he was taken into custody without incident, the sheriff’s department reported. There was no word on how deputies located him.

Rodriguez also had a warrant out for his arrest stemming from separate felony charges filed Aug. 21 — assault with a deadly weapon and shooting at an occupied vehicle, and a misdemeanor count of brandishing a weapon or firearm — which occurred last month in Mecca, court papers show. He is also scheduled to be arraigned on those charges Friday.

Rodriguez was convicted of a misdemeanor hit-and-run that resulted in property damage in 2018 but has no documented felony convictions in Riverside County.

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