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Police: Motel shooting started with drug deal

Two suspects are in custody after the incident spilled out of the motel room into the parking lot.

January 05, 2011|By Joseph Serna
  • A Costa Mesa crime scene investigation van parks in front of Costa Mesa Motor Inn following shooting incident early Wednesday morning.
A Costa Mesa crime scene investigation van parks in front… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

COSTA MESA — Police have arrested two people on suspicion of attempted murder after a suspected drug deal went wrong in a Costa Mesa motel early Wednesday and left one man in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds.

Authorities would only identify the pair as a 21-year-old man from Anaheim and a 25-year-old woman from Garden Grove. Police officials would not release their names citing the ongoing investigation. Both are being held on $1-million bail.

The shooting started in a first-floor motel room at the Costa Mesa Motor Inn, 2277 Harbor Blvd., about 2:45 a.m. and spilled out into the parking lot, with blood and bullet casings lying along the path, said Costa Mesa Police Lt. Paul Dondero. Several people were involved in the incident, some of them gang members from other cities, police said.

Gang affiliation didn't appear to play a role in the incident, authorities said.

According to detectives, a group went to the motel for a drug deal, and somewhere during that transaction the shooting began and continued in the parking lot. Police recovered methamphetamine and other items related to a drug deal in the room and outside. A small caliber handgun matching the shell casings was found nearby.

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The shooting victim, an unidentified 21-year-old man, was shot once in the abdomen and once in the shoulder inside the the motel room, police said. A maroon Jeep Grand Cherokee was also hit as the scene spread outside.

Responding officers found the victim and another man standing in the motel driveway and others involved nearby, said Sgt. Ed Everett. The Anaheim man was also allegedly under the influence of a controlled substance during the incident.

As police investigated, they found the Garden Grove woman hiding in a vehicle in the parking lot. She was booked on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine for sale and attempted murder for allegedly being involved in the shooting.

Dondero said it's not clear if the victim was the intended target of the gunshots or if he was hit by stray bullets. 

The victim was taken to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana where he underwent emergency surgery. He is expected to survive.

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