A man accused of going on a random drive-by shooting spree starting with an apparent road rage incident last month in East Palo Alto pleaded not guilty to all charges today, San Mateo County prosecutors said. Oscar Alfredo Tapia-Carmona, a 30-year-old resident of East Palo Alto who’s already on felony probation, was stopped at a red light at the intersection of West Bayshore and Capitol Expressway when he got angry with a stranger in an adjacent vehicle, then allegedly took out a handgun and fired a shot that went through the victim’s open window.
Tapia-Carmona allegedly sped off but was followed by the victim, who tried to take a picture of his license plate. After that, the defendant stopped at the intersection of Newell and Woodland, then allegedly fired two shots at a 65-year-old woman carrying her groceries home. The victim was struck in the arm. The force of the gunshot knocked her down and the bullet shattered at least one of the bones. Tapia-Carmona once again allegedly fled the scene, driving into Palo Alto and allegedly striking a bicyclist, who wasn’t injured – before going to work. He allegedly told his coworkers that he had been chased by several people on his way to work. The police were notified and Tapia-Carmona was arrested. Investigators said they found a Beretta handgun in his possession.
District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe called it odd to see crimes like this with no apparent motive. “The conduct itself, the lack of motivation for this dangerous conduct and the lack of explanation, makes one wonder if” he has a mental illness, Wagstaffe said. Tapia-Carmona remains in custody on a no-bail status and is scheduled to return to court April 23 to set a date for his preliminary hearing.
If convicted and sentenced, he could face life in prison, according to Wagstaffe. Defense attorney Savas Loukedis did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his client’s behalf.
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