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Police Kill Man Involved in Argument Over a Radio : Crime: The victim allegedly wounded another man before he was slain. The shooting triggered a long standoff when officers feared another armed suspect was holed up in an apartment.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Police fatally shot a man Monday after he allegedly wounded another man with a shotgun blast during an argument over the volume of a radio, police and witnesses said.

The shooting in the 700 block of Townsend Street triggered a long standoff with police SWAT team members, who feared another armed suspect may have been holed up in an apartment on the one-block-long street, Santa Ana Police Lt. Bob Chavez said.

For more than three hours, after the gunfire broke out, police waited for a sign that someone was still in the apartment, while hundreds of onlookers lined the street or sat on fences watching the drama unfold.

It ended about 9:30 p.m., when officers sent a police dog into the apartment, but no other suspect was found.

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Chavez said police received a 911 call about gunfire during a domestic disturbance about 6 p.m. When officers arrived, they spotted a man standing on a balcony of a two-story apartment building firing a shotgun into the apartment. The man quickly turned, according to police and witnesses, and began walking down the stairs of the balcony.

It was unclear whether he saw police officers, witnesses said.

An officer, seeing the suspect chambering a round into the shotgun, fired three times, fatally wounding him in the chest, according to witnesses.

“I just saw the cop shoot,” said Richard Romero, 14, who witnessed the shooting from an adjacent apartment less than 50 feet away. “The cop didn’t say drop the gun or nothing.”

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Neither the dead man nor his victim were identified. The wounded man was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was undergoing surgery Monday night.

The manager of the apartment building where the shooting occurred, Vincent Garcia, 20, said he was standing in the court yard just below the shooting scene when he heard loud screaming among the four men who lived in the apartment.

“They were saying bad words to each other,” Garcia said. “One wanted the radio louder, and one wanted it lower.”

Garcia said that suddenly one man pulled out a shotgun and fired three blasts at the radio. The gunman then shot another man in the side, Garcia said.

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“Pretty stupid, just for a radio,” Garcia said.

A carnival-like atmosphere prevailed for almost four hours after police cordoned off both sides of the street, which holds more than two dozen apartment complexes and an estimated 2,000 residents. Residents who strained to catch a glimpse of the activities from behind police lines said they were not surprised to hear gunfire on the street, which is known for drug dealings and shootings.

One resident who lives a block from the shooting said she had just returned home from work and heard the familiar sound of the police helicopter overhead.

“I was on the phone and I hear the helicopter,” said Alma Rivera, 23. “I thought it was a raid. We hear these things all the time.”

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Apartment manager Garcia said that when the shooting occurred, he just stood there, amazed at the violence flashing in front of him. “We’re used to it,” he said. “We’re not scared by shootings.”

Minutes after the shooting of the suspect, the wounded man and a friend emerged from the apartment. Police officers held their positions until about 8:15 p.m, when a fourth man came out of the apartment. As he began to walk across the landing toward the stairs, residents across the street began screaming, “Put your hands up! Put your hands up!”

The man, who was not identified, reluctantly raised his hands and walked down the stairs. As he approached, two police officers grabbed him, threw him roughly to the ground, handcuffed him and led him away.


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