A Lodi man pleaded no contest Wednesday to exhibiting a firearm in the presence of an officer, then leading police on a high-speed chase.
Leon Garcia, 23, will spend two years in prison as part of a plea deal. It counts as a strike under California's three-strikes law, meaning that future convictions on felony charges could be doubled.
Garcia became the subject of a large manhunt after a May 4 traffic stop for expired registration. Lodi Police Sgt. Dale Miller had gotten Garcia's driver's license, walked back to his patrol car and was writing a citation when a second officer pulled up behind him.
That officer, Josh Redding, got out of his car to watch Garcia, then saw the man pull out a handgun, laugh and hold it as though waiting for Miller to return with the citation.
Redding yelled for Garcia to drop the weapon, and a startled Garcia sped away, police said at the time. Police and California Highway Patrol officers pursued Garcia at high speeds for 23 miles, until the chase ended in Thornton where Garcia fled on foot in the dark.
He was arrested May 11 in Wallace, after police got tips that he was staying with a friend there. Detectives said they found a gun and ammunition at the home.
Miller was to testify Wednesday, but Garcia's plea ended the case.
Lodi High School graduation will still be held outdoors
There is no chance the district will move tonight's Lodi High School graduation from its outside venue due to the weather.
The 7 p.m. ceremony will be held at the Grape Bowl. Umbrellas will be allowed.
Gates open at 6 p.m. Thunderstorms are expected beginning at 7 p.m. with a temperature of 61 degrees, according to AccuWeather, a private forecasting firm.
Assistant Superintendent Bill Atterberry said there is no way to move thousands of students and family members at the last minute.
Schools with smaller class sizes, however, have already chosen to move today's graduations indoors.
Liberty High School students, for example, typically receive their diplomas on the lawn at Hutchins Street Square. This year, due to the chance of thunderstorms, graduation will be held at Lincoln Technical Academy, 542 E. Pine St.
Independence High School's 1 p.m. ceremony today was already planned to be held inside at McNair High School's theater, 9550 McNair Way, Stockton.
Elkhorn Elementary School and Podesta Ranch Elementary School in Stockton have also moved their graduations indoors. They have notified parents of the change.
The weather is expected to be clear and warmer for Tokay High School's graduation at 10 a.m. Saturday. It will also be held at the Grape Bowl.
— News-Sentinel staff