A California Highway Patrol cruiser. Photo by John Schreiber.
A California Highway Patrol cruiser. MNLA.com photo by John Schreiber.

A Homeland man accused of shooting at a 19-year-old motorist and his passenger in an apparent unprovoked attack on Interstate 15 in Lake Elsinore was charged Thursday with two counts of attempted murder, while his wife was charged as an accessory.

Jose Luis Magdaleno, 61, and Leticia Magdaleno, 54, were arrested Tuesday following a California Highway Patrol investigation into the Jan. 15 shooting.

Along with the attempted murder counts, Jose Magdaleno is charged with two counts of firearm assault and one count each of shooting at an occupied vehicle and illegal possession of a loaded handgun, as well as sentence-enhancing allegations of using a gun in the commission of a felony.

Leticia Magdaleno is only facing the accessory charge.

She’s being held in lieu of $500,000 bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside, while her spouse is being held on $1 million bail at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta.

They’re slated to make a joint initial court appearance Thursday afternoon at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.

According to CHP Officer Mike Lassig, about 5:15 p.m. on Jan. 15, the victims, whose identities were not released, were driving in a Ford Ranger pickup heading southbound on I-15, just south of Diamond Drive, when the man, who was at the wheel, noticed a 2001 black Chevrolet Tahoe SUV edging parallel to him at freeway speed.

“The victim observed the right front passenger (Jose Magdaleno) point a handgun directly at them from the Tahoe’s open right front passenger side window,” Lassig alleged. “Multiple flashes were observed coming from the suspect’s handgun as rounds struck the Ford Ranger.”

Neither the motorist or his female passenger was hit. The young man immediately pulled to the shoulder of the freeway and called 911, according to Lassig.

He said the SUV sped off to the south. A possible motive for the alleged attack remains unclear.

In the ensuing week, CHP investigators developed leads that identified the suspect SUV, culminating in search warrants being procured and served at the defendants’ residence on Terand Avenue, near Naumann Avenue, according to Lassig.

“Investigators located and seized multiple weapons at the Homeland address, which consisted of handguns, rifles, shotguns, ammunition and high-capacity magazines,” the CHP spokesman said.

In addition to the defendants, a family member, 26-year-old Jose Ricardo Magdaleno, was arrested on suspicion of carrying a concealed weapon and felony evading. He was not charged in the complaint against the couple and is being held on $100,000 bail at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta.

Neither Jose or Leticia Magdaleno has documented prior felony or misdemeanor convictions in Riverside County.

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