UPDATE: Police Release Name, Photo of Shooting Suspect
PALM SPRINGS - The 4th of July holiday was off to a violent start in one Palm Springs neighborhood Wednesday morning. Police were investigating an early morning shooting that led to some evacuations at an apartment complex later in the morning as investigators and members of SWAT searched for the shooting suspect.
The initial report of a shooting came in about 5:39 AM at an apartment complex in the 300 block of South Sunrise Way, according to Sgt. Mike Kovaleff, Palm Springs Police Department. When officers arrived at the scene they found a 44-year-old man with a gunshot wound to his upper torso. His wound was non-life threatening, according to police.
Investigators say the victim was shot while sitting in a vehicle parked in a driveway outside of the apartment complex. Police say he could have been in a dispute with the suspect, another man who was standing outside of the parked vehicle at the time.
The suspect fired one round at the victim and fled on foot from the location prior to police arrival. The victim was taken to a local hospital in serious condition.
During the course of the investigation, police identified the suspect and where he lived, which happened to be in the same apartment complex where the incident occurred.
Based on the fact that the suspect was considered armed and dangerous, the PSPD/CCPD SWAT Team was notified and responded to the location. The SWAT Team searched two apartments in the complex for the suspect but the suspect was not located.
Eight tenants were evacuated to a nearby air conditioned location for their safety while the SWAT Team conducted their search. The tenants were displaced for approximately one hour.
The suspect has been identified as Mario Antonio Abelon, 32 years old, of Palm Springs. Abelon is Hispanic, is about 5'5" and weight approximtely 175 pounds. Abelon is wanted on suspicion of attempted murder and is considered armed and dangerous. He was last seen wearing a white tank top and dark shorts. Police say call 911 if you know where Abelon is located, do not attempt to contact or detain Abelon.
Anyone with information about the shooting is encouraged to call the Palm Springs Police Department at 760-323-8116 or Valley Crime Stoppers at 760-341-STOP (7867).
Persons identified as suspects or arrested are presumed innocent until proven guilt in a court of law.