Crime and Courts

Man shot up Spring Valley home with ‘Frankenstein-style' ghost gun assault rifle: Sheriff's Dept.

The home on Chavacan Lane was occupied when it was fired on at 1 a.m. on Sept. 4

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A 46-year-old man was in jail Thursday after being arrested in San Diego on suspicion of shooting at an inhabited dwelling in Spring Valley and firing an illegal firearm with negligence, both felonies, sheriff's officials said.

The shooting happened on Sept. 4 around 1 a.m. near the 10000 block of Chavacan Lane, according to Detective James Walker of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

The assault rifle has a collapsible stock (seen expanded here), that, when folded, makes it small enough to fit in a backpack, according to Detective James Walker of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department

Deputies from the Rancho San Diego Sheriff's Station arrived and found more than a dozen gun casings, along with multiple bullet holes in a nearby home.

“We just heard a big bang. A bunch of loud noises. We weren’t exactly sure what it was," said one neighbor who wished to not be identified by name. He says he and his family were startled awake by the shooting. He told NBC 7 that his security cameras recorded the suspect at the time of the shooting.

“It’s pretty disturbing to know that somebody would just come out here and start shooting," that neighbor said.

Based on eyewitness accounts and security video, it appears the suspect pulled up in his SUV to the front of the condominium complex, parked the vehicle then got out, aimed his rifle toward the hills, and began firing.

No one was hurt, the detective said.

An investigation was conducted by Rancho San Diego detectives with additional assistance from the San Diego Police Department, Walker said. Detectives identified Benjamin Bautista as a suspect in the shooting.

“He walked up my walkway with the AR-15 it was caught on camera," said another neighbor who did not wish to be identified.

Before the shooting, this witness, fearing retribution, says the gunman was looking for his estranged wife who was visiting the couple next door.

“The neighbors are very nervous that he might come back. Especially the ones who got it on camera," they said.

On Wednesday, around 8 a.m., Rancho San Diego detectives, along with the Crime Suppression Team, arrested Bautista near the 3200 block of Towser Street in San Diego.

An AR-15 ghost gun and multiple high-capacity magazines were located by the SDPD during a related investigation. The firearm has been linked to the Sept. 4 shooting and was in the custody of the Sheriff's Department.

Walker said the weapon's creation is still being investigated, and that it was much more complex than a ghost gun pistol, calling it more of "a Frankenstein-style" weapon with parts likely from a variety of sources.

Bautista was booked Wednesday into the San Diego Central Jail with bail set at $75,000. His arraignment is set for Friday at 1:30 p.m. at East Division Court in El Cajon.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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