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Bullet Is Fatal to Man a Block From Gunfight

April 21, 1996|REBECCA TROUNSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SANTA ANA — A 55-year-old man was hit Saturday by a stray bullet fired in a gunfight a block away and died a short time later, police said.

Lt. Dave Petko said Zenon Bernardino of Santa Ana was walking north on Euclid Street near West 5th Street just before 4 p.m. when he was struck in the left side. Bernardino was returning home after a weekly visit to a nearby junkyard, where he sold aluminum cans, the officer said.

"This man was totally uninvolved," Petko said. "He was hit by a stray round."

Bernardino was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where he died at 4:42 p.m.

Petko said the bullet appeared to have come from a brief gunfight between two suspected gangs in the 5200 block of West Silver Drive.

Several bullet holes were discovered in the wall of a church just behind where Bernardino was found lying on the sidewalk, the officer said.

The neighborhood is a busy shopping area, especially on weekend afternoons, police said, but no other injuries were reported.

Petko said the person who called in the initial report mistakenly suspected that Bernardino was intoxicated. It was not until officers began checking Bernardino's vital signs that they discovered he had been shot.

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