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Assault victim wasn't shot, police say

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Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2002 10:00 pm

The alleged assault that occurred in northwest Lodi on Thursday afternoon wasn't a shooting at all, Lodi police said today.

And the victim, apparently assaulted with a bottle, not a gun, was arrested on drug charges hours after the incident.

Police have arrested one suspect, an accessory, and are still looking for two others.

Michael Diaz, 26, received blunt force trauma to the forehead Thursday afternoon at his residence, west of Ham Lane and south of Turner Road. The incident occurred at about 4:20 p.m.

A shooting victim, right, pulls on the strap of his overhalls
A shooting victim, right, pulls on the strap of his overhalls Thursday prior to being transported to Lodi Memorial Hospital with a bullet wound to the head. (Jerry R. Tyson/News-Sentinel)

Diaz was reportedly shot at his house in the 700 block of North Loma Drive before he went around the corner and to another residence in the 1700 block of West Lake Street.

The homeowner there called 911, police said today.

Diaz was taken to Lodi Memorial Hospital by ambulance. He was treated and released Thursday evening and then was interviewed at the police department.

Diaz, who was uncooperative with police at first, later said he thought he'd been shot, although no weapon was seen by the victim at the scene or found by police.

He was apparently assaulted by two unknown suspects who fled the scene before police arrived.

James Grant, 29, of Lodi, is being held at the city jail as an accessory to the crime. He was reportedly driving the getaway car, police said.

Police originally believed the assailants used a small caliber gun, possibly a .22 or .25 caliber, to shoot Diaz.

The injury apparently resembled a gunshot wound.

Doctors even thought the victim had been shot and said the bullet had bounced off Diaz' head, Sgt. Doug Chinn said.

Diaz, and his roommate Jenny Morring, 28, were subsequently arrested by officers at the police department Thursday on various drug-related charges.

They are being held at the city jail on $20,000 bail each and are expected to be arraigned Monday, Chinn said.

On Friday, several residents stepped forward with information about the residence where the assault occurred.

America Rees, who lives in the 700 block of North Loma Drive, said the area is a nightmare.

"People come and go at all times of night," she said. "It's been for the last couple of years that we've had problems. How much is too much?"

Another resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said there has been drug trafficking in the area for years.

Officers said they weren't aware of problems at the residence where the assault occurred, but said a house across the street has had problems related to drugs.

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