AUBURN — A Lewiston man who fired shots at the driver of a car and told police he was a “gang-banger” was sentenced Thursday to two years in prison, after prosecutors dropped an attempted murder charge.

Jauston Sanders, 25, of 195 Lincoln St. pleaded guilty Thursday in Androscoggin County Superior Court to a charge of reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon.

Judge Richard Mulhern imposed a sentence of five years, but suspended three years of that sentence.

Sanders will be on probation for two years following his release from prison.

He was charged with attempted murder and attempted elevated aggravated assault after a Nov. 4 incident in Lewiston during which he fired shots from a handgun into the driver’s seat of a car.

He has been held at Androscoggin County Jail since his arrest in lieu of $100,000 cash bail.

Prosecutors dropped the charges of attempted murder and attempted elevated aggravated assault.

Sanders had been scheduled to go to trial on all three charges this month.

During his two-year probation, Sanders will be barred from having alcohol, illegal drugs, firearms and dangerous weapons. He may be searched at random by law enforcement authorities for any of those and may be tested for alcohol and drugs. He must complete psychological and substance abuse evaluation and treatment. He will not be allowed any contact with the victim, Devine Nazaire, 30.

Sanders had told police that he believed he would be shot at, so he pulled a pistol and fired shots at the driver of a black Chevrolet Impala on Sabattus Street on the morning of Nov. 4, 2016, according to police.

Witnesses told police that the Impala sped off as the shots were fired. The shooter continued to walk up to the corner of Sabattus and Howe streets, paused, then continued up Howe Street, police said.

Nazaire, the driver of the car, said he had stopped for the traffic light when he looked up and saw somebody that he knew from “the streets” approaching his car and yelling something as he pulled out a pistol, police said. The man on foot fired shots through the windshield of the car, which turned into the oncoming lane of traffic and sped off as the shots continued.

Nazaire told police he had gotten into an altercation earlier with a man who had “boys,” including Sanders, whose street name was JDogg.

The Impala had four bullet holes on the passenger side and one through the windshield, police said. The bullet through the windshield lodged near the headrest and would have just missed Nazaire’s head. Police recovered six shell casings from a .40-caliber gun where the shooting was reported, according to a police affidavit.

Police said the two men were connected to rival groups, one from New York, the other from Massachusetts.

According to the affidavit, Sanders described himself as a “gang-banger” and a member of the Bloods. He said he believed the driver had “disrespected him” and had followed him around.

Sanders told a police detective he fired at Nazaire because, while he was in the car, Nazaire raised a gun and pointed it at Sanders.

Assistant District Attorney Kate Bozeman said Thursday that Nazaire was unwilling to cooperate with prosecutors, which influenced their decision to agree to the plea reached Thursday.

Sanders also had been charged with unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs. He pleaded guilty to that charge Thursday and was sentenced to two years in prison to be served at the same time as the reckless conduct charge.

In a separate affidavit, police had written that on Nov. 7, 2016, Sanders’ girlfriend consented to a search her apartment where police found a bag of 76 oxycodone pills under a pair of shorts in a closet. She denied knowledge of the pills. Sanders told a detective that the pills belonged to him and were for his personal use.

The drug charge was elevated to trafficking to reflect the quantity of pills found.

Defense attorney Allan Lobozzo said after the sentencing: “A fair result in a difficult case. My client has absolutely no criminal record and would like to put this incident behind him and move on.”

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