Woman Shot to Death Discovered in Front of Garden Grove Home

Authorities discovered a body of a woman lying on the front lawn of a Garden Grove home following reports of a shooting Wednesday night.

Police responded to a shooting in front of a residence at 11:15 p.m. in the 13000 block of Purdy Street and discovered a 31-year-old woman dead with gunshot wounds, Lt. Robert Fowler of the Garden Grove Police Department said. 

Firefighters and police began treatment on the woman, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police identified her as 31-year old Kellie Nichol of Trabuco Canyon.

"She was someone's kid, someone's mom, you know she's going to be missed, and her family is just going to be devastated," said Tami Butcher, a friend of the victim.

The owner of the house rents out the rooms to different people, police said.

One neighbor, Randy Smith, has lived in his home for 30 years. He said the owner started renting out rooms to make ends meet after his mother died, and believes the people he was renting to were taking advantage of him. 

Investigators said the woman was a guest at the house, had been in a physical fight with another woman outside of the home.

The women stopped fighting and a man walked up to them and pulled out a small caliber handgun, fired four or five shots and struck the woman, said Sgt. Richard Burillo of the Garden Grove Police Department.

He said she was the intended target since the two women were standing together, and because she was the only one hit. It was not clear why the man targeted her.

After the shooting, the seven or eight people who were hanging out in the front of the house all jumped into cars and fled, Burillo said.

Smith, who sleeps with his window open, says he heard the shooting.

"This one guy says, 'What'd you do, man? What did you do?' and then about two seconds after that says, 'You better get out of here!'" Smith said.

The gunman was not a renter, police said.

The owner of the home, Tom Whetro, was inside of the home at the time of the shooting, but was unable to identify the shooter or any witnesses who may have been outside.

Court records show Whetro pled guilty to possession of a deadly weapon and possession of a controlled substance in 2004. He was sentenced to more than a year in prison.

Burillo said a lot of people hang out in front of the house, and that neighbors often complain about the house. He added that they have been to the house multiple times for different calls.

Police were asking for witnesses to come forward to help determine the motive of the shooting.

"It's obvious that they all know who did it, and they all know what it was all about, and they all obviously didn't want to be witnesses to what occurred, so that's why they all left," Burillo said.

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