Authorities look for triple shooting suspect in Armona

January 5, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The shooting happened at the "Fast and Friendly" mini-mart on Front Street and 14th Avenue in Armona on Saturday.

The Kings County Sheriff's Office is still trying to track down the shooter. Investigators say they have some solid information, and hope to make an arrest soon. They spent hours on Saturday going through businesses and a church in Armona.

Sheriff's officials said two of the shooting victims have been treated and released from the hospital. The mother of one of the victims says the injuries are not life-threatening, but one of the three victims was shot three times.

A helicopter circled over the northern section of Armona for hours on Saturday. With their guns drawn, SWAT officers on the ground searched for the man who shot and injured three people.

Patricia Ransdell says she was having a yard sale when she saw the shooting. She said the victims were in an SUV at the Fast and Friendly gas station parking lot when the shooter ran up to them. "The next thing I heard was gun shots go off. A car took off and the car went down 14th. The guy ran over there by NAPA. The cops were looking for him. I called 911."

Several law enforcement agencies rushed to the scene and quickly began a wide-spread search for the shooter. "Our patrol deputies were able to, with the assistance of Highway Patrol and Hanford Police, were able to set up a perimeter in the area we believe they went," said Don Deedes, Kings County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities say witnesses spotted the shooter, and possibly another man, running down the street.

Investigators, with the help of K9 units, eventually made their way to the New Testament Baptist Church about a half mile away from the shooting scene. The swat team searched through empty storage rooms - and vehicles on the property.

"The dog and our SWAT team basically followed the suspect's tracks to this location. We found items that we believe are linked to that crime, clothing items belonging to the suspect," said Robert Thayer, Kings County Assistant Sheriff.

After going room to room - looking for their suspect, the SWAT team was called off.

Action News has learned at least one of the victims is a former gang member, but it's unclear whether the shooting is gang-related.

Authorities are asking for anyone with information about the incident to call the Kings County Sheriff's Office.