Ramona man pleads not guilty to attempting to shoot police officer

Two men, one from Ramona, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to assault and other charges in connection with a weekend incident in Poway in which shots were fired at a San Diego police lieutenant who had attempted to pull over the vehicle in which they were traveling.

Michael Eugene Rains, 28, of Ramona, and Daniel Schwartzel, 18, were charged with assault with a semiautomatic firearm on a police officer and shooting at an occupied vehicle. Rains is also charged with personal use of a gun, said Deputy District Attorney Michael Runyon.

The event leading up to the arrests began shortly before 8 p.m. Saturday, according to sheriff’s officials.

A San Diego police officer — finishing his first day as a lieutenant — attempted to pull over the vehicle Schwartzel was driving in the vicinity of Espola and Poway roads because he suspected him of drunken driving, then heard what he thought was a gunshot shortly after turning on his emergency lights, said sheriff’s Sgt. Craig Boudreau.

A few seconds later, the lieutenant heard three more gunshots and saw a muzzle flash that appeared to have come from the passenger side of the vehicle, Boudreau said. The officer was not injured.

The officer notified police officials, and deputies from the Poway Sheriff’s Station assisted him.

The vehicle was stopped near the intersection of Poway Road and Welton Lane when the deputies arrived and removed Rains and Schwartzel from the vehicle, according to Boudreau.

He said a handgun was found in the car, and expended shell casings were located in the roadway.

Rains — held on $150,000 bail — faces 19 years and eight months in prison if convicted. Schwartzel ­— held on $75,000 bail — faces nine years behind bars if convicted, according to Runyon. Schwartzel told officers he was a transient.

A readiness conference is scheduled Dec. 3 and a preliminary hearing Dec. 5.

   
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