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Man Riding on Bus Shot in Head by Passenger, Survives


SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — A 58-year-old Los Angeles man was shot through the head Friday as he was riding through Orange County on a charter bus to Tijuana. He is expected to live.

Ricardo Ancheta was shot with a .38-caliber handgun, apparently without provocation, said sheriff's Sgt. Dave Remender. Authorities arrested another passenger, Lazarro Dimas, 33, of Santa Ana, on suspicion of attempted murder.

"None of the passengers reported hearing an argument, and as far as we can tell the two men do not know one another," Remender said. Lab tests will be conducted to determine if Dimas was under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.

The incident happened about 10 a.m. as the bus, owned by International Tours Services, was traveling south on Interstate 5. Bus driver Victor Falco immediately pulled off the freeway after hearing a loud noise and began looking for a police car.

Falco encountered two sheriff's vehicles at an accident scene at the intersection of Camino Capistrano and Calle Aeropuerto and summoned help.

When deputies entered the bus, they found the victim slumped against the window and Dimas sitting next to him and holding a gun, according to Remender. The suspect was taken into custody without resisting.

Ancheta was rushed to Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo, where he underwent hours of surgery and was reported in stable but serious condition Friday night.

Officials at the hospital's trauma center said the bullet entered Ancheta's right temple and exited through his left cheek.

"It's a miracle he survived," said Ancheta's physician, Dr. Tom Shaver. "Gunshots that traverse the brain are about 80% fatal."

Shaver was optimistic about Ancheta's recovery, pointing out that he was conscious and talking lucidly when he arrived at the hospital, indications he would survive and be functional.

In Los Angeles, an official at International Tours Services was shocked by the incident.

"Nothing like this has ever happened before," said the company's owner, Aracely Escobar.

Escobar said she talked with the bus driver after the shooting and was told he had no idea what caused it. Ten passengers were in the bus when the incident occurred, she said.

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