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Alleged shooter goes to court, victims identified Morales-Garcia

Monday, April 24, 2006

During a preliminary hearing for an Albert City man accused of shooting two people last week, scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday in Buena Vista court, a sheriff's document submitted to the court claiming that both victims have positively identified him as the shooter is expected to play a role.

Ulises Tomas Morales-Garcia, 20, is charged with two counts of attempted murder. If convicted, he could spend up to 25 years in prison for each count. Morales-Garcia turned himself in to police last Saturday after being wanted by the Buena Vista County Sheriff's Department in connection with the April 13 shooting. He was booked into the Buena Vista County Jail under $100,000 bond. Records say Andrew Smith of the Public Defender's Office will defend Morales-Garcia.

Uriel Saragoza is also in custody in connection with the shooting as a material witness. According to a sheriff's department report in Morales-Garcia's court file, Saragoza recently moved to Storm Lake from Los Angeles, Calif., to find work. The report said Saragoza had assaulted Chris Wunder, Spencer, one of the gunshot victims, during the alleged drug deal that led to the shooting. He is charged with Interference with an Official Act and held under $65,000 bond.

A hearing on whether he can continue to be held as a material witness will be held May 9.

Initial reports indicated only three men were present when at the time of the shooting. The sheriff's report now says Saragoza was also at the scene. According to reports, the men were involved in a drug transaction on 90th Avenue, rural Storm Lake, when one pulled out a gun and shot two others.

There is no further word on the condition of victims Wunder or Harry William Ritchart, Royal.

According to the sheriff's report to the court, Morales-Garcia admitted the incident on April 13 was a drug transaction. Sheriff Chuck Eddy also said a "white powdery substance" was found during the investigation. It has been sent for analysis.

The sheriff's department reports about 10 p.m. April 13 the Buena Vista County Communications Center received an emergency call for medical assistance. Deputies found Wunder in the vicinity of 90th Avenue and 580th Street with gunshot wounds to the torso and extremities. Shortly after the first call came in a second call for assistance was received. Ritchart was found at 885 570th St. with a gunshot wound to the head area. Both men used their cellular phones to call for help. Both men were taken to Buena Vista Regional medical Center and later airlifted to Mercy Medical Center, Sioux City. Ritchart was later transferred to a hospital in Omaha, Neb. for further treatment. According to the court document, both men identified Morales-Garcia as the shooter the night of the attack.

Morales-Garcia is now listed as a native of Mexico, while booking sheets from several earlier arrests between 2002 and 2004 list him as being a U.S. native.

The shooting is the second life threatening crime in Buena Vista County this year. On February 19 Jose "Eddie" Tovar is accused of stabbing his brother to death and attempting to execute his parents with multiple stab wounds from a kitchen knife. A mental evaluation is pending in that case.



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