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Man is shot in crowded Old Town Pasadena

December 27, 2007|Jason Felch | Times Staff Writer

A 23-year-old man was shot and wounded amid crowds of shoppers and pedestrians on busy Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena's Old Town district Wednesday night.

The shooting occurred about 7:30 p.m. near Colorado Boulevard and Fair Oaks Avenue, one of the busiest intersections of the upscale retail and restaurant district. Four shots were fired in front of numerous bystanders before the victim collapsed in the middle of the street, witnesses and police said. A physician who was passing by the scene rushed to give the victim first aid as the gunman ran away.

"The place was packed; there were hundreds of people here," Lt. Randell K. Taylor of the Pasadena Police Department said. "It was crazy, mayhem; shots were being fired and -- imagine -- hundreds of people trying to take cover."

The suspected shooter, a man in his 20s, was later apprehended by police, although investigators said it was not yet clear why the shooting occurred. Pasadena Police Chief Bernard Melekian said only that it followed some sort of "altercation."

Police did not release the victim's identity Wednesday evening but said he was an Arcadia resident. He was reportedly shot once in the back at extremely close range and taken to Pasadena's Huntington Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition, police said.

By coincidence, a KCAL-TV Channel 9 news crew was at the scene doing a story on high wind when the victim was shot nearby. They interviewed the physician who rendered first aid. The doctor, identified by the news station as Dr. Mark Lowe, said that while examining the man, "he had a strong pulse, so I knew he was going to be OK.."

The brazen shooting was the first that police could recall occurring in Pasadena's Old Town, and passersby were stunned by the display of violence. One of the bullets flew across the street at waist level and shattered the front window of Lather, a natural oil and lotions store.

The gunman was captured by police with the help of several Pasadena Guides, city employees who provide visitors with information. The guides saw the gunman running and began following. Witnesses said they saw the man toss an object in an alley. When police searched the area later, they found a handgun in some shrubs.

Although police knew no motive for the shooting late Wednesday, bystanders said it was possibly due to an argument in which a racial slur was used.

jason.felch@latimes.com

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