Suspect sought in shooting of veteran

By Greg Botonis
Staff Writer

Saturday, January 29, 2005 – PALMDALE — Sheriff’s investigators are hunting for a street gang member accused of shooting an Army veteran of Iraq in a dispute with the man’s ex-wife over $300 paid to rent a room in her Palmdale home.

Seventeen-year-old Adolfo Quiroz of Palmdale has been charged as an adult with attempted murder in the Oct. 1 shooting, which tore up the reservist’s bowels and arteries and left him with a permanent limp and loss of feeling in his legs.

“He survived a year in Iraq and the horrors of war only to get shot by a gang member,” said Deputy District Attorney Hayden Zacky.

Four other reputed gang members are in custody in connection with the shooting, but Quiroz has disappeared.

Quiroz is believed to be hiding in the Pacoima area but also has ties to the Santa Clarita area and elsewhere in the San Fernando Valley, investigators said.

The shooting occurred after the victim, who had been home from Iraq about two months, drove up to his ex-wife’s home to visit his children just as two carloads of gangsters pulled up, deputies said.

The gangsters were there to demand $300 one of them had paid to the man’s ex-wife as a deposit for a room. He never moved in because he was arrested on weapons charges, deputies said.

When the man was released on probation, he began threatening the ex-wife that he would “shoot up” her house if she didn’t return his deposit, deputies said.

When the victim — whose name was not released because of concerns for his safety — got out of his truck, the five men approached him and asked if he was the man of the house, then demanded he pay them the $300.

When the victim refused, a man later identified as Quiroz lifted his shirt to show a handgun tucked in his waist band, officials said. Then the would-be renter swung at the victim with a piece of wood that looked like a table leg.

The victim backed away to get behind his truck, then pulled two knives out of a tool box. As the victim raised his hand as if to throw a knife, the would-be renter yelled for Quiroz — by his nickname, Gadhafi — to shoot him, authorities said.

Quiroz fired two shots into the victim, who collapsed, authorities said. The five men fled.

The victim lost nearly 80 percent of his blood before paramedics got him to the hospital, where he spent 12 days, detectives said.

A license plate number from a getaway car led to the arrest of the would-be renter that night. Three other suspects were arrested soon after.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective David Gunner at (661) 951-8594 or the nearest sheriff’s station.

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