We all make mistakes.
We cheat on math tests, text our exes "hey" at 3 a.m. and leave dog poop on our neighbors' yards. Those mistakes are understandable and, we hope, forgivable. But that's not the case with Michael V. Pona II, of Ballwin, who allegedly tried apologizing to the driver of a car he'd just fired on during a seemingly random shooting spree.
It all started around 1:30 p.m. Monday, when police began receiving reports of gunshots near Manchester and Holloway roads. Pona, 34, was behind the wheel of a black Cadillac Escalade, traveling east, when he allegedly opened fire on at least two vehicles before crashing his own car and attempting (unsuccessfully) to make an aquatic escape via creek.
According to police reports, Pona first shot at a westbound Chevrolet SUV carrying two passengers, including a young child. No one was injured, but officers later recovered a .40-caliber bullet from the headrest near the child's safety seat.
Around the same time, Pona pulled up next to a Ford Mustang and pumped a round through its passenger-side window, shattering it. That's when Pona allegedly told the Mustang's driver, "I'm sorry, my bad."
Pona then pulled a U-turn, police say, and drove to a Dean Team Volkswagen dealership parking lot. He exited the Escalade. Witnesses watched as Pona fired multiple shots into the air and ran around the parking lot. This seemed to tire Pona, so he lay on the ground for a few moments before getting back in his car.
He only made it three blocks before crashing into a white Cadillac sedan, whose driver suffered a broken wrist and bruising to her chest. With police in pursuit, Pona, now on foot, made a break for the nearby Fishpot Creek. He dove in.
But even as officers dragged him from the water, Pona refused to stop rampaging. He kicked at officers, bit one in the leg and was finally subdued with the help of a taser. After he was transported to a hospital, Pona kicked a nurse and bit a security guard in the arm.
The result? Pona was charged with eight felonies and two misdemeanors and given a $150,000 bond. Police recovered a .40 caliber handgun from the Escalade and a .38 caliber revolver from the Dean Team parking lot.
So far, authorities say they have no idea why Pona attacked unsuspecting motorists on a Monday afternoon in West County.
"He hasn't offered any rational explanation as to why," Ballwin police sergeant Jim Heldmann told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Authorities told the newspaper they are investigating whether drugs, alcohol or a psychological disorder may have fueled the bizarre rampage.
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