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AWOL soldier charged in O.C. shooting that left 1 dead, 2 wounded

February 28, 2011 |  8:01 pm

An Army soldier who was absent without leave was charged Monday with killing a friend and trying to kill his father and another man in an unprovoked shooting at an Orange County motel last week.

Spc. Steven Matthew LeClaire, 23, was drinking with the victims Thursday in a room at the Cypress Lodge when he allegedly pulled out a weapon and fired multiple rounds, the Orange County district attorney's office said.

He is charged with shooting his father several times in the stomach and back and wounding the other man in the legs, prosecutors said; both survived. The man who was killed was shot in the head and chest.

After the shooting, LeClaire walked outside of the motel room and raised his hands as he surrendered to the manager. He was arrested at the scene, according to authorities.

LeClaire is accused of going AWOL in February from his post in Texas, the district attorney's office said.


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-- Robert J. Lopez