SANTA ANA — Fountain Valley police shot and critically wounded a suspected drug dealer Thursday when they tried to arrest him on a felony warrant for alleged narcotics violations, authorities said.
Mario Arnoldo Umana, 23, of Santa Ana was shot in the shoulder and neck about 9:30 a.m. at 717 S. Halladay St., said Fountain Valley Police Sgt. Larry Griswold. Police had gone to the house to arrest Umana on a warrant and to search the house.
Umana underwent exploratory surgery at Western Medical Center-Santa Ana and was listed in critical condition Thursday night. During the incident, Jose Luis Aparicio, 18, was arrested on suspicion of interfering with police officers and assault and battery on a police officer. He was taken to Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center, where he was examined and released. Details of his injuries, if any, were not disclosed.
Police declined to discuss the circumstances surrounding the shooting or whether Umana was armed. Griswold said the shooting is being reviewed by the Orange County district attorney's office, which investigates virtually all officer-involved shootings in the county.
Witnesses said they heard at least three shots shortly after police arrived at the house.
Umana "looked pretty bad, but he was still trying to get up," said one woman, who asked not to be identified.
The house had been rented out to two men, two women and a child on Aug. 1, said George Saucedo, owner of Rancho Property Management in Santa Ana, which manages the property for the owner, Maria Elba.
Most neighbors said they didn't know very much about the people who lived at the house. But one couple, who asked to remain anonymous, said the house had been a source of trouble since the latest tenants moved in.
"I knew they were on drugs," said the man, who has lived on the street with his wife and children for seven years. "They had drug traffic coming through here at night, lots of cars with different people."
The man's wife said she had been acquainted with one of the women who lived at the house with her child. She said she didn't believe that the woman was involved in drug activity.
"She was scared," the woman said. "She wasn't happy because there was too much drug traffic. She wanted to move."
Neighbors said a shooting took place at the same residence about two weeks ago. Police, however, said they have no record of a shooting taking place on the street within the past month.
Mike Salgado, a member of the East Side Neighbors Assn., said crime had been decreasing in that part of the neighborhood.
"This is what we're trying to stop in this neighborhood," Salgado said. "The neighbors want to take back this neighborhood and clear it of dope dealers and gang members."