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Man could face attempted murder charges for firing gun at towed vehicle

Posted: February 2, 2013 - 6:13pm  |  Updated: February 3, 2013 - 1:11am

A man is being held on $20,000 bond and could be facing attempted murder charges for allegedly firing a weapon at a vehicle that was being towed Friday morning, placing the tow driver and passenger in fear of being shot, according to prosecutors.

“He just pulled around the front of this truck, got out with a gun and fired,” District Attorney David Brower told Juneau District Court Judge Keith Levy during a hearing Friday afternoon.

Darshan S. Dogra, 23, was arrested early Friday morning after police tracked him down using a description of his vehicle, including the license plate number, provided by the tow truck driver. The driver had called 911 at about 1:30 a.m., saying he had just been threatened by a man armed with a handgun in the area of the Sunny Point overpass, according to police.

Police located the 1996 Honda Civic at the Extended Stay Hotel near the airport and learned which room Dogra — the vehicle’s registered owner — was staying in, according to charging documents.

Responding police officers surrounded the hotel and evacuated residents around Dogra’s room as they tried to make contact with him in person and by phone. Police said in a news release that Dogra did not answer the door and that he was taken into custody when he exited the room around 5 a.m.

Charging documents state that at some point during the stakeout at the hotel Dogra dropped a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun out of his hotel room window, hitting the ground outside.

During an interview with police, Dogra denied any knowledge of the shooting and he said he dropped the gun out of the window because “he did not want to get shot,” according to charging documents.

Prosecutors, however, say Dogra had a female passenger in the car with him at the time of the shooting, identified in court documents as Stevie Mayville. Mayville told police in an interview that they were driving on Mendenhall Loop Road when they saw the tow truck headed in the opposite direction.

She said Dogra became agitated and “said something about ‘f***ing tweakers’ and made negative comments about the government,” according to charging documents. He made a hard U-turn and began following the truck, the documents allege.

At one point, Dogra asked Mayville to grab the wheel, which she did, trying to keep control of the car while he drove about 60 to 65 miles per hour. She told officers that she saw him pull out a handgun and that she heard a gunshot after he exited the vehicle.

Prosecutors say JPD officers obtained a search warrant, seized the towed vehicle and found a bullet hole in the rear driver’s side door, as well as a spent .40 caliber shell casing at the scene of the shooting. The owner of the towed vehicle was contacted and she told officers she does not know either Dogra or his passenger, charging documents state.

Brower charged Dogra via felony information with three felonies: two counts of third-degree assault for recklessly placing the tow driver — identified in court documents as Randall Benc — and passenger, Edgar Monignok, in fear of “imminent serious physical injury” with a gun, and one count of third-degree criminal mischief for damaging the towed vehicle to the tune of approximately $700.

All three counts are class ‘C’ felonies that can be punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine.

Brower said he’s considering bringing more serious “attempted murder” charges, but that will depend on how close in proximity the shots fired were to the tow truck driver and passenger, which Brower says he hasn’t been able to determine yet.

During Friday’s court hearing, Brower requested $20,000 bail, arguing that Dogra poses a danger to the community.

“The danger is he had a gun, and he fired at two people who had no idea what was going on,” Brower said.

Brower also said that Dogra had been charged with third-degree assault a few years ago for pointing a gun at his mother and his mother’s boyfriend, but those charges were dismissed.

Electronic court records indicate Dogra has one previous misdemeanor conviction for forgery in 2011. The records show for that case, he was sentenced to 100 days in jail with 90 days suspended and he was placed on unsupervised probation for a year.

The judge appointed the Public Defender Agency to represent Dogra, and Public Defender Timothy Ayer reserved his bail arguments for a later date. Ayer did note though that the full circumstances of the case is unknown at the point and that Dogra is not charged with attempted murder.

“At this point it is just a ‘C’ felony,” Ayer said.

Levy granted Brower’s bail request, agreeing public safety is a concern.

“It’s pretty serious behavior alleged here,” Levy said. “It may only be a ‘C’ felony, but clearly shooting a gun in the direction of people without apparently any rhyme or reason gives me great cause of concern for safety.”

Dogra is next scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 11. That hearing could be vacated if an indictment is issued in the meantime.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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