Drive-by shooting suspect sought

    Juan Carlos Rodriguez

    Medford police are looking for a man accused of firing a gun from a car at another man Saturday in west Medford.

    Juan Carlos Rodriguez, 19, is wanted on felony charges of attempted first-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon after he allegedly fired a handgun from the passenger seat of a car at just about noon Saturday in the 900 block of Alta Street, Medford police said.

    Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said that although the incident fits the profile of a gang shooting, the timing and choice of victim strikes police as peculiar.

    “There’s usually a lot of other gang activity that leads to a shooting,” Budreau said. “This is an outlier.”

    Rodriguez allegedly wore red and flashed gang signs in the two times he circled the block leading up to the shooting on the third pass. No one was struck. One shell casing was recovered from the area.

    Budreau said the victim and his family knew Rodriguez, and “there’s no evidence to indicate that they’re involved in a gang.”

    The family was surprised at the shooting, according to Budreau.

    “He’s certainly acting the part, we’re just not sure why he picked that victim and this day,” said Budreau, who formerly headed the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement task force until July, when he became one of two lieutenants in charge of Medford’s patrol division.

    “When the gang culture pops up, we notice it,” Budreau said. “We feel this is a pretty isolated incident.

    “There probably aren’t a lot of any rivals for him to pick fights with,” Budreau said.

    Another unusual factor in the shooting is the time when it occurred.

    “Most of these situations have been later at night,” Budreau said.

    Medford police have been in touch with the driver of the vehicle and the Rodriguez family, and they are now asking the public to help them find Rodriguez.

    Rodriguez is described as Hispanic, about 5-feet-6, and 120 pounds. He often wears red clothing. He previously lived in the 700 block of North Riverside Avenue in Medford, but has also been known to frequent the White City area.

    “He could be anywhere,” Budreau said.

    Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

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