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Man arrested in Forsyth County for allegedly firing “modified” automatic handgun out of vehicle

A Gainesville man was arrested by local authorities on Tuesday night after he allegedly fired a “modified” automatic handgun out the window of a vehicle in north Forsyth.

Martin Candelas Ponce, 29, was taken into custody by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office after nearby deputies investigating an unrelated trespassing report heard several “rapid” gunshots and witnessed a vehicle traveling away from the scene down Picklesimer Road, according to a sheriff’s office report.

Deputies pursued the suspect vehicle down Picklesimer Road and eventually took the driver and a passenger into custody while the shooting was investigated, according to the report.

The vehicle’s passenger, Ponce, allegedly told authorities that he had been the one that fired the shots from the vehicle’s window. Ponce told authorities he got scared after he saw the blue patrol lights of the deputy’s vehicle and tossed the gun and magazine out of the vehicle as they drove, according to the report.

With the help of a K9 officer, deputies eventually found a handgun, magazine and 25 rounds of ammunition in the area.

“While placing the pistol into evidence, I noticed a modification to the handgun which appears to make it a fully automatic weapon,” the report states.

Deputies alerted the Atlanta branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for further investigation into the weapon, according to the report.

Ponce has been charged with discharging a firearm while near a roadway, discharging a firearm while under the influence of alcohol, reckless conduct and two counts of tampering with evidence, according to jail records.

He has previously been arrested and cited in Forsyth County for DUI, racing, reckless driving, and driving with a suspended license.

After briefly being held in the Forsyth County Jail, Ponce was released on bond Wednesday afternoon.