Ex-con who shot at police during pursuit gets 34 years to life i - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Ex-con who shot at police during pursuit gets 34 years to life in prison

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VISTA (CNS) - An ex-con who led police on a chase through Escondido in a stolen car, firing at officers, bystanders and a sheriff's helicopter, was sentenced Tuesday to 34 years to life in state prison.

Eric Anthony Pomatto, 27, pleaded guilty in May to attempted murder charges.

About 6 p.m. on March 19, 2010, an officer responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle ran a computer check on a Honda and discovered it had been stolen from an off-duty detective in Chula Vista two days earlier, said Escondido police Lt. Craig Carter.

Moments later, a man inside the car -- later identified as Pomatto -- opened fire on a police cruiser, then drove off, the lieutenant said.

Inside the car were the detective's two semiautomatic weapons -- a handgun and a shotgun -- used by the defendant in the 15-minute crime spree, said Deputy District Attorney Patrick Espinoza.

As officers chased Pomatto along Midway Drive near Bear Valley Parkway, he shot at them and fired through the stolen car's open sunroof at a law enforcement helicopter aiding in the pursuit, the prosecutor said. The assailant then headed south on Bear Valley Parkway, firing a pistol and a shotgun at his pursuers.

At Craigmore Avenue, he shot through the windshield of a police dog handler's cruiser. The bullet barely missed the officer, tearing through his epaulette and lodging in the back seat near his dog, according to Carter. Other bullets hit the front bumper and tires, disabling the car.

On Boyle Avenue, the fleeing driver shot at an officer who was attempting to place tire-flattening spike strips on the roadway. The shot missed the intended victim but hit a passing car.

Carter said the driver continued to fire until he reached Westfield North County mall. There, he stopped outside an On the Border restaurant, got out of the car and surrendered.

The sheriff's helicopter crew landed in a parking lot at the shopping center to assess whether it had been hit -- it hadn't -- by gunfire.

According to court records, Pomatto was convicted in 2009 in Butte County for making criminal threats. He was also convicted in 2004 in San Diego County for disturbing the peace.


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