YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A Struthers man charged with firing a gun in the air Wednesday during an argument between three dirt bike riders and a motorist pleaded not guilty Friday at his arraignment in municipal court.
Enoch Mendoza, 24, entered a not guilty plea to a first-degree misdemeanor charge of discharging a firearm in city limits as well as several traffic charges.
He was released on his own recognizance by Magistrate Meghan Brundege pending a June 6 pretrial hearing.
As part of his release, he is not allowed to have any guns.
Mendoza was charged after police said a group of dirt bike riders got into an argument with a motorist at a gas station at South Avenue and East Midlothian Boulevard.
The motorist told police he was set upon by the cyclists as he was driving west on Midlothian Boulevard. He said they did wheelies, weaved in and out of traffic and one of them hit the side of his car.
When he pulled into the gas station, he argued with the three, who reports said punched him and someone fired two shots in the air. Police had video of the incident, reports said.
A state highway patrol helicopter later found one of the bikes on East Lucius Avenue, where police found Mendoza. They found a loaded 9mm handgun in a bag that Mendoza left in the backyard of a home.
Police said Mendoza was charged because he matched the description of the person on the video who fired the gun.
Through an interpreter, Mendoza denied firing a gun.
“I didn’t do anything with a firearm,” Mendoza said. “Do you have evidence of that?”
Police said an investigation is continuing and more charges may be filed because of the fight at the gas station.