BARSTOW — A Barstow man accused of shooting at people attempting to repossess his Nissan Sentra was behind bars on suspicion of attempted murder.

Barstow police arrested John Arneal Utley, 63, at his home in the 300 block of Date Street early Wednesday morning after responding to a shooting a little after 10 p.m. on Tuesday. Police learned the victim, who according to Capt. Andy Espinoza Jr. is employed by a legitimate vehicle repossession company, drove to Utley’s home to repossess the Nissan.

“While attempting to repossess the vehicle the owner of the vehicle emerged from his residence with a handgun,” Espinoza said. “The victim reported that Utley began shooting at the employees from the repossession company. Utley fired several rounds from a handgun and struck the vehicle that was being repossessed. One of the employees from the repossession company was in the vehicle at the time the vehicle was struck by a bullet.”

Responding officers said they found evidence of the shooting and secured the scene while Det. Leo Griego assumed the investigation.

Griego conducted an “in-field show-up” and the victim positively identified Utley as the shooter, police said. Utley then was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

Utley was being held at High Desert Detention Center in Adelanto in lieu of $1 million bail and is expected to be arraigned in a Victorville courtroom Friday afternoon, booking records show.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call the Barstow Police Department at 760-256-2211. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the WeTip hotline at 800-782-7436 or visit

Jose Quintero may be reached at 760-955-5332 or Follow him on Twitter at @DP_JoseQ.