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Search for possible shooting victim suspended (video)

By By Dianna Wray - DWRAY@VICAD.COM
Jan. 31, 2012 at 12:01 p.m.
Updated Jan. 30, 2012 at 7:31 p.m.

Law enforcement officers wait at a boat dock off  Old Goliad Road as Victoria firefighters search the Guadalupe River on Tuesday for evidence of a shooting victim.

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Anyone who has information about the incident is asked to call the Victoria Police Department at 361-573-3221.

Law enforcement officers ended their search Tuesday for a possible shooting victim in the woods and river near the power plant on South Bridge Street.

"We can't confirm a shooting has occurred based on the physical evidence, but we haven't ruled it out," Victoria Police Chief JJ Craig said.

The search began after a man called the Victoria Police Department just before 7:30 p.m. Monday to report that he had been shot in the chest.

The Victoria Police Department, the Victoria Sheriff's Office and the Victoria Fire Department responded to the call, searching the woods and the railroad bridge near the power plant where they traced the last cell phone signal.

The Department of Public Safety also sent a helicopter to search the dark and heavily wooded area, but the man was not found.

The search was suspended just after 10:30 p.m. Monday and started again at 8 a.m. Tuesday as law enforcement officers combed the woods and river banks.

The Victoria Fire Department put a boat into the Guadalupe River about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday to continue the search.

No physical evidence - such as blood or bullet casings - was found at the site to confirm it was a crime scene, and the search ended at noon, Craig said.

Craig said the police department takes every emergency call seriously, and they spent the morning conducting a thorough search of the wooded area and the river.

Officials were unable to trace a number from the emergency calls, and are analyzing the calls to continue the investigation, the chief said.

If the emergency call turns out to be a hoax, the caller could face charges of false alarm or false report, a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in the county jail and a $4,000 fine.

Craig said they are continuing to look for the caller.

Blanch Barrera, who lives across the street from the power plant, said she was doubtful that a shooting had happened Monday night because it was the DPS helicopter that woke her, not gunshots.

"If there had been all of those gunshots, I would think I'd have heard something," she said. "Why would people do something like that?"

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