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Police Arrest California Man In Gooding County Following Shots Fired Along I-84

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By Paul Johnson

Gooding, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) - The Idaho State Police arrested a 28 year old California man, last night in Gooding County following reports of shots fired. According to police Lajai J. Pridgette allegedly fired shots from his vehicle into two other vehicles along Interstate 84 in Ada, Elmore and Gooding counties.
It all started with a call to the ISP at about 6:06pm from a motorist traveling eastbound on I-84 at milepost 57 near the Boise Factory Outlets. The motorist reported that he was traveling with three passengers in a gray Chevrolet Malibu when a black male traveling in the right lane in a Ford Mustang with black stripes attempted to make eye contact with the passengers. The driver of the Malibu and his passengers, from Washington and Oregon, avoided eye contact. The suspect then slowed down, changed lanes, and began traveling behind the Malibu. The driver of the Malibu changed to the right lane and the driver of the Mustang again pulled alongside the Malibu, but now from the left lane. This was when the driver and passengers of the Malibu heard what they believed to be a gunshot and both of the side rear windows of the Malibu shattered. Nobody in the Malibu was injured. Idaho State Police issued a description of the Mustang and driver to other law enforcement agencies in an attempt to locate the suspect.

At approximately 7:10 p.m., the South Idaho Regional Communications Center received a report of a gunshot fired into a 1995 Toyota Pickup traveling eastbound I84 at milepost 112, approximately 16 miles east of Mountain Home in Elmore County. The bullet passed through the door of the cab of the pickup and lodged in items inside the cab. The driver of the pickup was not injured. The description of the suspect in that incident matched the suspect's description in the earlier incident.

An Idaho State Police trooper spotted a Mustang matching the description of the suspect's vehicle at approximately 7:25 p.m. at a convenience store at exit 157, in Wendell in Gooding County. The 2013 Ford Mustang that the suspect was driving was reported stolen in Anaheim, California from a rental car company earlier in the month. Pridgette was taken into custody by troopers without incident as he walked out of the store. Pridgette was booked into the Gooding County Jail.

Inside the car, troopers found a Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, a credit card skimmer, equipment used to make fraudulent credit cards and a stolen laptop computer.

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

Multiple charges are pending in Ada, Elmore and Gooding County. The felony charges include four counts of Aggravated Assault, Use of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Grand Theft by Possession.


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