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Shotgun Fire Kills 1, Hurts 4 at Wedding Reception

Times Staff Writer

Violence erupted at a wedding reception outside a Santa Ana home early Sunday when a man with a shotgun fired three times into the crowd, killing a man and wounding four other people, according to police.

The dead man’s identity was not immediately known, but witnesses said he was not a wedding guest and not a participant in a heated argument across the street that apparently sparked the shooting. They said he had been carrying equipment for the Latin rock band Grupo Azteca, which had been playing for the reception, when he was struck in the head and chest by shotgun pellets.

Injured Taken to Hospitals

The injured were treated for minor wounds at local hospitals. Hector Renteria, 28, the bridegroom, said that his father and a cousin were among the injured. The father, Jose Renteria, 53, was wounded in the upper right arm by a shotgun pellet. The cousin is Efrain Nieves Renteria, 27. Both are of Santa Ana.

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Police did not identify the other injured, although witnesses said one of them was a band member.

Jubencio Sandoval, 21, of Santa Ana, who is suspected of firing the shotgun, was arrested on suspicion of murder by Santa Ana police as he was driving near the crime scene about 3 a.m. Sunday. Witnesses had given police a detailed description of the gunman’s car, including its license plate number, Sgt. Jack Rife said.

More than 50 people were at the wedding reception at the home of Jose Sanchez and Olga Rubio, the mother of the bride, in the 1300 block of South Orange Avenue. The guests were either inside the house or in the back yard when the shooting erupted, witnesses said. Hector Renteria said in an interview later Sunday that no one at the party really knew what sparked the argument, and that it is uncertain who or how many people were involved in it.

“I didn’t see anything,” Sanchez said, “but from what I heard from the guests is that some discussion took place with a guy from across the street. He was not a member of the wedding party, and, frankly, no one here knows who he was.”

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‘Couldn’t Do Much’

Witnesses told police that the gunman had parked his car on an adjacent street. After the argument erupted, he grabbed a shotgun from the car, fired it twice into the air, then aimed it toward the wedding crowd, firing three times.

“When I heard the shots,” Hector Renteria said, “I ran outside to see what was going on, and I saw that he (the dead man) got hit in the forehead and the chest. I tried to help him but I couldn’t do much.”

On Sunday afternoon, Renteria and his bride, Anna, 22, were packing their wedding gifts and talking to friends about the tragedy. The couple said that although they did not know the dead man, they were saddened by the event.

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Saturday up until the shooting had been a happy day for them. They were married about 2 p.m. at the Guadalupe Wedding Chapel on Broadway near 3rd Street in Santa Ana. Most of their guests gathered at Sanchez’s home while the wedding party went to a park to have pictures taken.

“We had music and records. People were dancing and eating and having a good time. Then this happened,” Sanchez said.

Police took three other men in Sandoval’s car into custody, but they were released a few hours later, a police spokesman said.

Sandoval was being held at Orange County Jail.

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