Motor Inn shooting suspect pleads not guilty

COSTA MESA — An Anaheim man is scheduled to appear in court Friday for a pre-trial hearing linked to a Costa Mesa shooting.

Victor Valdez, 21, is charged with multiple felony counts of assault with a firearm, street terrorism and carrying a loaded, stolen gun. He has pleaded not guilty.

Police said he was part of a group gathered Jan. 5 at the Costa Mesa Motor Inn, 2277 Harbor Blvd., for a drug deal when gunshots rang out and one man was critically wounded.

The victim survived.

Police recovered the gun they believed was used in the shooting and arrested Valdez.

He was booked on suspicion of attempted murder but prosecutors opted for the lesser charge: assault with a firearm.

Valdez's charges could change depending on what investigators learn about the incident, said Orange County district attorney spokeswoman Farrah Emami.

Police said they found methamphetamine and other drug-related tools at the motel.

Valdez was named in a 2006 gang injunction served against 90 people in Anaheim.

Costa Mesa police said last week's incident didn't appear to be gang-related. However, because Valdez is a suspected gang member and the incident could have benefitted the gang, prosecutors tacked on a gang enhancement to his charges.

He is being held in lieu of $200,000 bail.

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