The man arrested in a wild shootout and police chase last week faces 158 years and four months in prison if he's convicted on all the charges levied against him at his arraignment Wednesday.
Eric Pomatto, 25, pleaded not guilty to 27 felony counts including 11 counts of attempted murder, shooting at a helicopter, felony evading, and possession of stolen property.
Multiple shots were fired at police and innocent bystanders during a wild chase that came to a dramatic end outside a packed restaurant at North County Fair Friday, police said.
An officer responded to a call about a suspicious car in Northeast Escondido at about 6.30 p.m.
“As the officer came behind and ran the plate, the suspect in the vehicle fired one shot at our officer and took off, the pursuit was on,” Lt. Craig Carter said.
The pursuit headed south on Bear Valley Parkway for nearly five miles with multiple shots fired along the way. The driver in the stolen Camry got away, but police found the vehicle and waited for backup.
Then officers say it happened again.
“As the second vehicle gets on scene, the subject starts firing out the window at those officers,” Lt. Carter said.
When the sheriff’s dept. helicopter Astrea arrived at the scene to keep track of the pursuit, officers say the suspect opened up the sunroof and started shooting again.
“About a 15 minute pursuit from Midway and Bear Valley all the way down to where we are at North County Fair. All the way down the subject was firing multiple rounds outside of the vehicle and striking several of our police vehicles,” Lt. Carter said.
Bullets hit at least four police cars, a vehicle with a couple inside and grazed an officer’s uniform on his shoulder. Amazingly no one was hurt.
The pursuit ended when officers surrounded the suspect outside a Mexican restaurant at the North County Fair. The outdoor bar was full at the time. People who were drinking there said Escondido police ran towards the suspect with guns drawn and everybody ran inside and ducked down.
“He came of the car and officers surrounded the area and started a hot stop and the subject was taken into custody without incident,” Lt. Carter said.
Escondido Lt. Bob Bention told our media partner the North County Times that Pomatto had a 9mm pistol and a long-barreled shotgun in the 2005 Honda Accord that he had allegedly stolen in Chula Vista.
Pomatto, who police described as a transient, is being held without bail.