Shooter pleads guilty to aggravated assault

A verbal argument escalated to gunfire when Jaree Kayon Rainier, 24, fired his gun into the ground, causing bullet fragments to strike the leg of victim Daniel Dunella. Rainier pleaded guilty to aggravated assault at his arraignment before Judge Marc F. Lovecchio Tuesday.

The Jan. 1 argument began because Dunella didn’t like the way Rainier was treating his sister, who Rainier was dating. Dunella eventually walked away and got into his pickup truck but continued to watch Rainier and his sister through the rearview mirror, Dunella told city Patrolman Eric Derr.

When Dunella saw Rainier push his sister to the ground, he exited the truck and approached. That’s when Rainier began firing in his direction, causing at least four bullets to strike the truck, according to Derr.

“I did fire the gun in his direction,” Rainier told Lovecchio at his sentencing hearing.

The plea agreement calls for 33 to 66 months state prison. Lovecchio accepted the guilty plea but has not yet sentenced Rainier.

Dunella, who was not present at the hearing and declined to submit a victim impact statement, agreed to the terms of the plea agreement, according to Assistant District Attorney Anthony Louis Ciuca.

Rainier was serving a probation sentence for marijuana possession at the time of the shooting.

Rainier will be sentenced for aggravated assault and probation violation at a hearing before Lovecchio at 3:30 p.m. May 28.