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Orange County

Garden Grove Man, 23, Beaten in Group Attack

November 26, 2003|David Haldane | Times Staff Writer

A Garden Grove man was in critical condition Tuesday after being beaten over the head with a baseball bat by assailants who may have mistaken him for somebody else, police said.

The victim, identified as Vincente Lagunas, 23, was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange with more than 40 skull fractures. "He was hit multiple times," said Lt. Mike Handfield, a spokesman for the Garden Grove Police Department. "He's not a gang member, and it doesn't look like [the incident] is gang-related."

The beating occurred shortly after 10 p.m. Monday in the 12100 block of Tammerlane Drive, where two groups of about four men each had argued. One group left the area, Handfield said, and returned a few minutes later with the bat. When they encountered Lagunas, the lieutenant said, they asked him where his friends were and then attacked him.

"We think he lives in the immediate area and was mistaken for one of the people the group had come into contact with earlier," Handfield said. "We don't think he was even involved in the argument."

There were witnesses to the initial argument, he said.

Police traced a 1998 Dodge Durango -- believed to have been used in the incident -- to a Long Beach address. The car was impounded and taken to the Orange County Sheriff's Department's Crime Lab for forensic study.

Late Tuesday, Handfield said, investigators were questioning several people suspected of involvement in the beating, but no arrests had been made.

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