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Police seeking witnesses to overnight shooting in Santa Maria - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Police seeking witnesses to overnight shooting in Santa Maria

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An overnight shooting in Santa Maria left one man in critical condition and launched an attempted homicide investigation. 

No arrests have been made, but police say they do believe the shooting is gang-related. They are asking anyone with information to come forward, even with an anonymous tip.

Police and firefighters were called to the scene on the 900 block of W. El Camino shortly after midnight Monday. 

The Santa Maria Police Department says a man in his early 20s was shot once in the chest.

"The streets were blocked off and they were going house to house to see what they could find out," said a neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous. "It was definitely scary, it's something you don't see every day and to happen right in your own neighborhood and across the street is really surreal."

The victim's injuries were described as critical.

"There are witnesses and we know that they aren't cooperative and they aren't coming forward. Without people coming in, stepping forward and intervening, these things can continue to spin off into other incidents," said Lt. Paul Van Meel, Santa Maria Police Department.

"It is a tough neighborhood, they do have some violence going on around here," described the neighbor. "You get scared, you get worried, you have a family and you think about them and their safety."

Santa Maria police say crime throughout the city has decreased over the past two years since Operation Matador when several suspected MS-13 gang members were arrested. MS-13 is not believed to be involved in Monday's shooting.

Police say it is not known if the shooting is related to another shooting last weekend that killed a 19-year-old man on the north end of Santa Maria.

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