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Orange County Focus

SANTA ANA : Man Shot in Front of His Family Dies

August 14, 1993|GREG HERNANDEZ

A 33-year-old man who was shot in the head three times in front of his wife and 1-year-old son died Friday morning after being disconnected from life support systems at UCI Medical Center.

Angel Vargas was shot Thursday night by a man who police said owed him money. They said Vargas was holding electronic equipment that belonged to the man as collateral until the debt was paid.

Vargas, his 31-year-old wife, Alicia, and their son had arrived home in the 1300 block of Rita Street just after 7 p.m. and were getting out of their car when the shooting occurred.

"After they pulled up to the curb, a man who was parked nearby got out of his car, walked up to their car and started firing shots," said Santa Ana Lt. Richie Murg.

Alicia Vargas was outside the car when the gunfire erupted and was not injured. The child was still in the car with his father and suffered minor injuries from shattered glass. He did not require hospitalization.

Police said they believe they know the identity of the gunman.

"We believe he's somewhere locally, and we're going to track him down wherever he is," said Santa Ana Lt. Rick Hicks.

Jesus Rios, who shared a rented house with Vargas and his family, said that the victim had discussed problems he was having with a man who owed him money and that Vargas had left the house Thursday with a gun for protection.

Rios said the man believed to have shot Vargas was involved in a car painting business with the victim's brother.

"He's not a guy who has problems," Rios said of Vargas. "He had a happy family. This weekend, we were all in the back yard together having a good time."

Rios said Vargas worked at a factory in Santa Ana.

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