Neighbors in the Blossom Hill Road area of San Jose were relieved on Thursday, a day after an alleged serial shooter was arrested on suspicion of shooting at a string of at least 10 cars in the area.
"I’m so happy right now," said Shey Ashaolu, who works at a barber shop near where the shootings took place. He said he would often come into work about the same time as the shootings were reported and was often scared to deposit money at a nearby bank.
Afraid of being the next victim, Ashaolu said that he would often run through red lights if no one was around in an effort to get out of the area quickly.
Clara Amaya, who also lives in the neighborhood, added she also hadn't felt safe since the shootings were first reported four months ago, and had urged her children to avoid the area.
Their fear, however, largely dissipated with the Wednesday arrest of Michael James Lee Lewis of San Jose. The 30-year-old was booked into the Santa Clara County Jail on four counts of attempted murder and an outstanding felony warrant for felon in possession of a firearm.
"We knew this guy was capable of doing anything," San Jose police Sgt. Enrique Garcia said.
Lewis was arraigned Thursday in connection with a separate case, which involves charges of felony possession of a firearm and possession of ammunition. He did not enter a plea. Further details were not immediately available.
The suspect is scheduled to return to court Friday at which time prosecutors plan to charge Lewis for the alleged shooting spree.
Court documents indicate that Lewis' rap sheet also includes embezzling, driving with a suspended license, and assault and battery.
Lewis was arrested on Aug. 14 after police noticed a black Dodge Charger in the vicinity of the shootings. That particular car had been linked to the case, Garcia said.
"They’re giving the suspect commands to exit the car, but the suspect is not complying," Garcia said. "Eventually, the driver takes off."
Officers followed Lewis' car for several blocks and then pursued him on foot before taking him into custody. Detectives conducted a follow-up investigation and obtained a warrant to search his house.
That's when they found the handgun.
The firearm, along with shell casings from some of the shootings, was submitted to the Santa Clara County Crime Lab for analysis, and the lab determined the bullets from four incidents were fired from the same handgun.
Police aren't sure, however, if Lewis was the only shooter.
"You're not playing around," Garcia said. "You're shooting a handgun at a car."
Police say at least 10 vehicles have been hit on or near Blossom Hill Road, near Monterey Road. Starting in May, the shootings have occurred around midnight in the normally quiet South San Jose neighborhood. Each time, Lewis shot just once, police said.
Two people have also been wounded by shrapnel or flying glass, police said.