Suspect in shooting of sports anchor pleads not guilty

AP News
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Posted: Feb 17, 2015 7:10 PM
Suspect in shooting of sports anchor pleads not guilty

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A house painter on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to an attempted murder charge in the shooting of a San Diego television sportscaster a week ago.

Prosecutor Rebecca Zipp told the judge during a hearing in San Diego Superior Court that Mike Montana shot KFMB-TV anchor Kyle Kraska six times when he opened fire on Kraska's silver Mercedes outside the reporter's home.

Kraska was badly injured, suffering shots to the stomach, chest and limbs.

Montana, 54, also was charged with making a threat against another individual, but prosecutors did not go into details about that case.

Police say Montana was in a dispute with Kraska over work done on the reporter's home. Montana surrendered to authorities the same day after a SWAT standoff at his home in El Cajon, a city east of San Diego.

Zipp said the attack on Kraska was "willful, deliberate and premeditated."

The judge set bail at $750,000.

According to the CBS affiliate, Kraska is making good progress in his recovery at a local hospital.

Todd Villalobos, a KFMB sports producer and friend of Kraska, told the station that the anchor hired Montana to paint the exterior of his house after seeing him work in the neighborhood.

Villalobos said Kraska was dissatisfied with the painter's work. But Kraska he paid the painter, and the two agreed to part ways.

Months later, Montana began leaving notes on Kraska's door, Villalobos said, according to KFMB.

Kraska is the sports director at KFMB, where he has worked since 1999. He has been a fixture in San Diego homes as the station's evening sports anchor since 2003 and hosts the San Diego Chargers postgame show.

The Boston native previously worked for television stations in Los Angeles; Sarasota, Florida; Tampa, Florida; El Paso, Texas; and Albany, New York, according to KFMB. He began his career as weekend sports anchor in Watertown, New York, during his senior year at Syracuse University.

In a January 2014 filing for personal bankruptcy protection, Montana identified himself as self-employed and the sole owner of Superior Painting Corp.