Quadrunning, Gun-Toting Terror Of Wonder Valley Elahi Convicted

Pejman Elahi of Wonder Valley has been convicted of eight felonies related to or growing out of his use of firearms with murderous intent on two separate occasions last year.
A day after he had nearly killed a man he shot three times, Elahi was taken into custody on November 10, 2022 as he was appearing at the Joshua Tree Courthouse to answer charges relating to a similar incident that had occurred on September 25.
On the morning of Sunday September 25, Ryan Rodriguez, an Instacart delivery driver in a Honda Civic was driving out Two Mile Road in Wonder Valley, attempting to deliver groceries to a household on Primrose Lane, when he overshot a turn he was supposed to have made. When he made a U-turn on the remote dirt road, Elahi, who was riding a white Suzuki quadrunner, chased after him. Rodriguez, seeking to orient himself, had slowed to a near stop. At that point, Elahi began to knock on the window on the passenger side of the Civic, and attempted to open the Civic’s door. Rodriguez drove off, reaching El Paseo Drive, where the road surface was so soft, the Civic was struggling to get traction. As Rodriguez was attempting another U-turn, Elahi closed in on him, pointed a gun at him and then fired upon the car. Frantically trying to elude Elahi while desperately seeking to make a 9-1-1 call, Rodriguez drove through the loose desert sand and around and at times over and through chaparral. He reached the sheriff’s dispatch center at 8:43 a.m. Elahi, on the quad, was able to stay right with him until Rodriguez reached a paved road, at which point Rodriguez was able to get away.Rodriguez’s call, however, summoned sheriff’s deputies to the area, who with the assistance of overhead observation from a sheriff’s department helicopter that was dispatched to Wonder Valley, overtook Elahi, who was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Deputies searched Elahi’s home in the 77000 block of Amboy Road, where multiple firearms, including a short-barreled AR-15 rifle, ammunition, ammunition magazines, drugs and drug paraphernalia were found. .
Elahi was arrested, as was another individual at his home, Gilbert Gonzalez, Sr.
Elahi, in relatively short order was able to post $50,000 bail, and was released the following day.
On October 31, 2022, Elahi was charged by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office with felony violation of Penal Code Section 245(a)(2)-F, assault with a firearm; felony violation of Penal Code Section 22210-F, possessing a dangerous, weapon; violating Penal Code Section 1170.12(A)-(D)-A by engaging in criminal activity with a prior felony conviction or convictions; violating Penal Code Section 667(B)-(I)-A by engaging in criminal activity with a prior serious or violent felony conviction; felony violation of Penal Code Section 33210-F by disobeying restrictions on possessing a short-barreled rifle or shotgun; felony violation of Penal Code Section 30605(A)-F by possessing an assault weapon; violation of Penal Code Section 30305(A)(1)-F by being a prohibited person owning ammo; violating Penal Code Section 29800(A)(1)-F by being a felon/in possession of a firearm, along with an enhancement under Penal Code Section 12022.5(A)-E by using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Elahi was contacted and told he was scheduled to appear in court on November 10 to be arraigned on the charges.
At around 10:01 a.m. on Wednesday November 9, shots were audible on the campus of Palm Vista Elementary School, at 74350 Baseline Road in Twentynine Palms, not too distant from where Elahi lived on Utah Trail. District and sheriff’s officials locked Palm Vista Elementary down and issued, at 10:50 a.m. an order for students and faculty to shelter in place. An almost immediate conclusion by investigating deputies was that the shooting occurred at Elahi’s residence on Utah Trail.
Sheriff’s deputies obtained a search warrant for Elahi’s Utah Trail residence.
In the meantime, Naomi Thomas, who lived in a home within the tract where Elahi’s residence was located and had heard, like others in the area the shots that had been fired, was doing work on her computer when she heard desperate yelling from outside. Listening more closely, she could hear a man screaming that he had been shot. As it seemed the shouting was coming from the direction of a house across the street, one located at the corner of North Star and Sunset Drive, she went there. Believing the man yelling was in the backyard of that house, she climbed over the fence and went to the house’s back porch. There she found Gerald Jonas II, who had been shot in both thighs and his right arm.
Thomas made a 9-1-1 call. During the intervening time, the sheriff’s deputies looking into the shooting had gone to Elahi’s home, but there was no one there. Other deputies, responding to Thomas’s call, encountered the profusely bleeding Jonas, who before he was transported by ambulance the Yucca Valley Airport from which he was then flown to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, was able to related that he had been shot by Chucky, a name by which Elahi was known to go. Jonas said Chucky, clad in a helmet, was riding on a white quad.
For the second time in less than two months, sheriff’s deputies, augmented by a sheriff’s department helicopter were looking for Elahi. As it turned out, they did not find him that day.
Realizing, nonetheless, that Elahi was due to appear in court the next morning for his arraignment on the charges stemming from the September 25 incident involving Rodriguez, deputies were in place at the Joshua Tree Courthouse on the odd chance that Elahi would show up.
When he did, they closed in on him and whisked away, without informing Judge Kory Mathewson that Elahi had arrived to be arraigned. The court record noted that Elahi had “failed to appear.” In actuality, he was in the custody of the sheriff’s department.
On November 14, in the Rancho Cucamonga courtroom of Judge Arthur Benner II, Elahi was arraigned.
In this go-round, Elahi was not granted extended the courtesy of being able to post a token bond to be put back at liberty in the community. Rather, he was held in lieu of $1.2 million bail, and he has remained in custody since his arrest.
The case involving Rodriguez ultimately was consolidated with the one involving Jonas. Elahi was prosecuted by District Attorney Heather Razook present. His defense attorney was John Paul Serrao.
Ultimately, the case was heard by Judge Melissa Rodriguez, who is no relation to Ryan Rodriguez.
At trial, it came out that Elahi’s girlfriend, Brianna Schan, had formerly been in a relationship with Jonas.
Sometime after his break-up with Schan, Jonas learned that Schan mistakenly believed, or at least had represented to someone they both knew, Gary Ogdahl, that Jonas was dead. Ogdahl testified at trial that he had contact with Schan on the morning of November 9, that Schan inquired about whether Jonas was in fact dead and that he told her Jonas was alive before reaching Jonas and telling him to go see Schan to let her know he was alive.
While Jonas was indeed very much alive, when he went to see Schan later that morning he very nearly ended up dead.
Elahi was at Schan’s house when Jonas got there that morning. Both men mutually, at that point, resolved to go into the desert for a fight. Each drove their own quad to a field. After both dismounted but before the fight could be initiated, Elahi pulled out a gun and, in Jonas’s words, “unloaded a full clip” at Jonas, hitting him three times. Fearing Elahi would shoot him again, Jonas feigned being dead, at which point Elahi drove away, leaving Jonas to die.
After an interim, Jonas was able to get up, get onto his quadrunner and drive back to Schan’s house. He was unable to get her to assist him, after which he stumbled through neighboring properties seeking help. A security video camera mounted at one of those homes recorded him seeking help. Shortly thereafter, his cries for help summoned Thomas.
Serrao, Elahi’s attorney, sought to convince the jury that Elahi had not assaulted Rodriquez as Rodriquez described. Rodriquez, Serrao asserted, had previously been the victim of a violent crime in which a gun had been trained on him and the psychological carryover from that harrowing incident had colored how he perceived his encounter with Elahi.
The firearm charges against Elahi were overblown and based on an incompetent investigation by sheriff’s deputies who found them at Elahi’s home, Serrao maintained. One of the guns was a movie prop, according to Serrao, and not a functioning weapon. Nor was the gun alleged to be an assault weapon a bonafide assault weapon, according to Serrao.
There are other individuals in the Twentynine Plams-Wonder Valley area named Chuckie, Serrao pointed out, questioning altogether whether Elahi was the actual shooter.
There was reasonable doubt that Elahi was guilty, Serrao said.
Elahi was indisputably identified as Jonas’s assailant and the individual who assaulted Rodriquez, Deputy District Attorney Razook said. Elahi had multiple weapons and he was the owner of a white quad indistinguishable from the one ridden by Jonas’s assailant and the person who terrorized Rodriguez.
The jury found Elahi guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of attempted murder in the incident involving Jonas, guilty of assault with a firearm in the matter involving Jonas and guilty of assault with a firearm in the case involving Rodriquez, possession of an assault weapon, one count of possession of a firearm, a handgun, by a felon, possession of firearm, an assault weapon, by a felon; possession of ammunition by a felon; and having or using a cut-off shotgun or rifle. The jury also made a finding that in the commission of his crimes, Elahi elevated the crimes to an enhanced level of seriousness by using a gun, discharging a gun to inflict great bodily injury and by acting with deliberate and premeditted malice.
With regard to a single count, possession of a billy club that was found on Elahi’s premises, he was found not guilty. Elahi was not charged with possession of a controlled substance while armed with a loaded firearm, which constituted part of the basis for his arrest in September.
In choosing to go to trial, Elahi spurned a plea offer from the district attorneys office in which her turned down a plea and acceptance of a 25-year prison term. Based on the charges Elawi has been convicted of, Judge Rodriguez has the discretion of imposing a sentence of as much as 70 years in prison.

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