SAN DIEGO -- A man accused of fatally shooting a Navy sailor who pulled over on a freeway ramp in Mountain View to help a seemingly stranded motorist last weekend pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a murder charge and was ordered held without bail.
Brandon Acuna, 21, faces life in prison if convicted in the death of 21-year-old Curtis Adams.
Adams' girlfriend called police around 2:20 a.m. Saturday to report that Adams had been shot on the transition ramp from southbound state Route 15 to northbound Interstate 5, according to San Diego police Lt. Anthony Dupree.
The woman told investigators that Adams noticed a stranded car on the ramp and stopped to help. Adams got out of his car and was immediately shot, she said.
Adams was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to Dupree, who said the shooter was seen fleeing south on I-5 in a white car.
California Highway Patrol officers later noticed a car, which matched that description, stopped on the northbound 5 near 32nd Street, Dupree said. Police headed to that location and detained the driver, identified as Acuna, he said.
Investigators believe Acuna was also involved in a separate shooting 10 minutes before Adams was killed, in which shots were fired at a man after he encountered people trying to break into his vehicle on Boundary Street in Mount Hope. He escaped injury, police said.
Adams, originally from Brooklyn, enlisted in the Navy in 2016 and was a steelworker with Amphibious Construction Battalion 1 stationed at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.
Acuna will be back in court Nov. 9 for a status conference and Nov. 14 for a preliminary hearing.