Fugitive shot at cars on interstate, police say

October 31, 2013 

Lajai Jamar Pridgette

A California man who allegedly fired shots at two vehicles on Interstate 84 in Ada and Elmore counties was arrested Tuesday night in Gooding County.

The Idaho State Police received a call at 6:06 p.m. Tuesday from a motorist headed east on the freeway. The driver said a man in a car that had been behind him fired a shot that shattered both of his side rear windows near the Boise Factory Outlets.

The driver of a Chevrolet Malibu said the man, who was driving a 2013 Ford Mustang in the right lane, tried to make eye contact with his passengers. The driver and the three passengers, from Oregon and Washington, avoided the man's gaze.

The suspect then slowed down, changed lanes and got in behind the Malibu in the left lane. When the Malibu moved to the right lane the Mustang pulled alongside it. That's when the people in the Malibu said they heard what sounded like a shot and the windows shattered.

An hour later, police received a report of a gunshot fired into a 1995 Toyota pickup near milepost 112, 16 miles east of Mountain Home, in Elmore County. The bullet passed through the door of the cab of the pickup and lodged inside.

No one in ether of the victim vehicles was injured, police said.

The description of the suspect matched the person allegedly involved in the earlier incident.

An Idaho State Police trooper spotted the suspect vehicle about 15 minutes later in Wendell, located 106 miles east of Boise and 63 miles from Mountain Home. Lajai Jamar Pridgette, 29, was apprehended without incident as he walked out of a store.

Pridgette, whose hometown was not immediately available, was taken to the Gooding County Jail in Gooding.

The 2013 Ford Mustang he was driving was reported stolen from a rental car company in Anaheim, Calif., earlier this month. Inside the vehicle, police found a 9 mm handgun, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, a credit card skimmer, equipment to make fraudulent credit cards and a laptop computer that had been reported stolen.

Pridgette has an extensive police record in California, with convictions on several drug charges, assault with a deadly weapon and promotion of prostitution.

Multiple charges are pending in Ada, Elmore and Gooding counties, state police said.

So far, he has been charged in Gooding County with two counts of theft by receiving, possessing or disposing of stolen property and unlawful possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.

Pridgette was arraigned Thursday afternoon in Fifth District Court in Gooding. Bond was set at $250,000. A preliminary hearing has been set for Nov. 7.

A case has been filed in Ada County, but details are not available. The case file has been sealed, according to a listing in the state court repository.

The Idaho State Police are continuing to investigate the case. Troopers were assisted Tuesday evening by Elmore County deputies during the search for the suspect vehicle.

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