One Man Dead, Two Women Injured in Santa Ana Shooting

Residents said the sound of gunfire came "out of nowhere"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Police are looking for the person responsible for shooting and killing a 23-year-old man in Santa Ana on Tuesday night while sitting in a car with friends. Vikki Vargas reports for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. from Santa Ana Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014.

    Police on Wednesday were investigating a shooting in Santa Ana that left one man dead and two women injured one night earlier.

    The shooting happened just before 11:30 p.m. near the intersection of Main Street and 12th Street, Santa Ana police said.

    Detectives said the victims were parked on 12th Street and approached by a lone male gunman who fired seven to 10 shots. It is unclear whether there was an altercation before the shooting, but residents said they didn't hear a fight.

    1 Killed, 2 Hurt in Santa Ana Shooting

    [LA] 1 Killed, 2 Hurt in Santa Ana Shooting
    Santa Ana police were investigating a shooting that left one person dead and two injured. Residents described hearing up to 10 gunshots before police sirens. Toni Guinyard reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014.

    "Out of nowhere there were like 10 shots fired," resident Omar Sanchez said. "From that point I heard helicopters and sirens and police coming...I wasn't sure where it was but I knew it was close to me."

    Sanchez said he panicked and didn't know what was happening.

    One Dead, Two Injured in Santa Ana Shooting

    [LA] One Man Dead, Two Women Injured in Santa Ana Shooting
    One man is dead and two women are injured after being shot in Santa Ana late Tuesday night.

    "I heard nothing prior to that, no arguing," Sanchez said.

    Police said the gunman shot into the victims' car.

    "(The gunman) walks up to the vehicle and shoots at least 10 rounds into the victim's vehicle, striking each of the victims multiple times," Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said. "The victim...is able to drive out to Main Street, where she stops."

    Aaron Chavez, 23, of Anaheim, died at the scene. He was in the front passenger seat and was shot in his upper torso, police said.

    Friends of Chavez said his girlfriend, 21-year-old Ashlee Caldwell, was driving the car. A 28-year-old woman was also riding in the car.

    Both women suffered gunshot wounds to the upper body and were in "critical but stable condition" Wednesday, officials said.

    Paul Veerkamp, who said he is like a stepfather to Caldwell and helped her buy the car that was shot at, said she knows her boyfriend is gone.

    "It's a matter of accepting the facts and dealing with it," Veerkamp said. "I hope they catch (the shooter). He doesn't need to be running the streets."

    Resident Guz Lopez said what he heard sounded like a rifle.

    "It seemed like an automatic rifle or semi-automatic rifle," Lopez said. "It's always a concern when there's gunfire in the neighborhood. There's a lot of good people here. There's no need for there to be gunfire."

    The gunman may have left the scene in a white SUV, and the shooting did not appear to be gang-related, investigators said. 

    "At this point, (investigators) don't know if this was a robbery, if this was a hit, if this was, you know, road rage that went to that location," Bertagna said. "At this point, they're taking a look at everything."

    Detectives are looking at surveillance video that one business owner said shows the gunman driving away.

    "You see the taillights go on and you see him taking off toward Main Street," Charlie Navarro said.

    Detectives have not yet interviewed the surviving victims.

    Vikki Vargas contributed to this report.