Grand jury indicts drive-by shooting suspect

Miguel Angel Carbajal faces 11 charges that include two counts of attempted aggravated murder and attempted murder

A Jackson County grand jury has indicted one of the four men allegedly involved in Tuesday's drive-by shooting in Central Point on 11 charges, including attempted aggravated murder and first-degree manslaughter.

The grand jury on Thursday heard evidence that Miguel Angel Carbajal, 19, of Dinuba, Calif., drove the Chevy Impala from which shots were fired at a couple in an Isuzu traveling westbound on Beall Lane at about 4 a.m. Tuesday.

Authorities think they have the gun used

Investigators believe they've found the weapon — a small-caliber handgun — used in the drive-by shooting after an extensive search along Beall Lane and Old Stage Road.

Beth Heckert, Jackson County chief deputy district attorney, said investigators traced the route of the high-speed pursuit of the suspects that ensued shortly after the shooting at 4 a.m. Tuesday.

She wouldn't disclose where the gun was found, only that it was somewhere near the route to where the suspects crashed their Chevy Impala about a mile and a half south of Interstate 5 on Old Stage Road.

Investigators have confidence that the gun found was the same one used in the shooting, she said.

"There will be further testing done on the firearm to determine if it is the firearm used in the drive-by shooting," Heckert said.

She didn't disclose the brand of handgun or the caliber.

Jackson County sheriff's spokeswoman Carlson said she couldn't discuss further details of the investigation, including questions over whether the shooting could have been a gang initiation.

Investigators are following up on tips and leads as they help build a case, Carlson said.

Erik Lee Dorey, 22, of Gold Hill, was shot in the jaw and is being treated at a Portland hospital. His girlfriend, Jennifer Knutson, 19, of Central Point, received minor injuries from shrapnel and broken glass, Jackson County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said.

Carbajal was indicted on two counts of attempted aggravated murder and two counts of attempted murder, both Measure 11 crimes that carry minimum sentences of 10 years and 71/2; years in prison, respectively, upon conviction, and first- and second-degree assault.

Carbajal was indicted on additional charges related to the car crash that occurred about eight miles from the shooting scene as he and three other men reportedly fled from police. The crash killed passenger Gustavo Santiago, 16, of Central Point.

Those charges include first-degree and second-degree manslaughter, which carry mandatory prison sentences of 10 years and 7.5 years, respectively.

Carbajal also was indicted on a charge of third-degree assault because of injuries sustained by passenger Francisco Javier Campos, 19, of Traver, Calif., attempting to elude a police officer and driving under the influence of a controlled substance.

Campos was being treated at a local hospital for his injuries but was released Friday into the hands of authorities. He was being held at the Jackson County Jail but had not yet been charged with a crime.

The grand jury heard testimony Thursday from seven officers and investigators who worked on the case, according to Beth Heckert, Jackson County chief deputy district attorney.

Heckert said the investigation could lead to additional charges against other occupants in the Impala.

"The investigation is continuing to determine who fired the shots," she said. "It's an investigation that will take time to chase down all the leads."

Even though Carbajal didn't appear to be the shooter, Heckert said that because he was the driver, he was aiding and abetting in the crime.

Carbajal remains in the Jackson County Jail on $2 million bail.

Heckert said there is no evidence that there was any interaction between the occupants in the Impala and Dorey and Knutson before the shooting.

No firearms were found in Dorey's car, she added.

Both Campos and Carbajal have affiliations with a Norteños gang known as Traver Barrio Rifa. Earlier reports indicated Carbajal was from Traver, but Jackson County Circuit Court records show he lives in Dinuba, a few miles from Traver in Tulare County.

A fourth person in the car, Gabriel Perez, 20, of Medford, fled from the crash scene and is still at large. Perez is a registered sex offender and has been identified by police as a known gang member.

Other than Carbajal, investigators haven't determined where the suspects were sitting in the car at the time of the shooting.

Police are still contacting witnesses as the district attorney's office builds its case.

During the grand jury hearing, testimony was heard from two sheriff's detectives, a Medford police detective, a state trooper, a Central Point police detective and a Central Point police officer.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or e-mail

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