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Fatal shooting followed toy store brawl

Legal News     updated  2008/11/28 09:02


The shooting occurred in a crowded toy store on the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, but authorities say it wasn't related to the bargain-hunting frenzy. Instead, two men pulled guns and killed each other after the women with them erupted into a bloody brawl, witnesses said.

Authorities released few details about the mayhem that broke out at the Toys "R" Us store around 11:30 a.m. Friday, sending scared shoppers fleeing. Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez said the fight was not over a toy and that handguns were found by the men's bodies. He refused to say whether the shooting was gang-related.

The victims were identified as Alejandro Moreno, 39, of Desert Hot Springs, and Juan Meza, 28, of Cathedral City. No one else was hurt.

Witnesses Scott and Joan Barrick said they were checking out of the store when the brawl began between two women, each with a man. The women were near the checkout area, but the Barricks did not think the women had purchases.

One woman suddenly started punching the other woman, who fought back as blood flowed from her nose, said Scott Barrick, 41. The man who was with the woman being punched pulled a gun halfway out of his pocket, then shoved it back in, he said.


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