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Pedestrian shoots himself in leg after street-crossing dispute

January 4, 2011 | 10:48 am

A man who pulled a handgun on a driver who didn't stop for him to cross the street in Hawthorne ended up in the hospital after accidentally shooting himself in the leg, police said Tuesday.

Dennis Vilchis, 21, of Los Angeles, brandished a handgun about 11:30 a.m. on New Year's Day during a dispute with a driver over who had the right of way near the intersection of Prairie Avenue and El Segundo Boulevard, said Hawthorne Police Lt. Gary Tomatani.

"The pedestrian obviously believed the car should have stopped," Tomatani said.

When he tried to put the gun in his pants pocket or waistband, he accidentally fired the gun, shooting himself in the leg.

Police officers, who were flagged down by a motorist after the shooting, found Vilchis lying on the sidewalk with a single bullet wound to his upper thigh. He initially tried to stand up and walk away, police said, but soon collapsed due to his injuries. 

Paramedics treated Vilchis at the scene, and he was taken to the hospital in serious condition.

Police found the handgun, which was loaded with additional live rounds, a few feet away from Vilchis on the sidewalk. He had more ammunition in his pants, Tomatani said.

Detectives are reviewing the incident for possible criminal charges.


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-- Tony Barboza