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November 30, 2006

Murder warrant issued

Sheriff’s investigators have issued murder and attempted murder warrants for a Marshall County man wanted in a fatal shooting at a quarter horse race track near Holly Pond.

Warrants were issued Thursday for Leonard Lozano Majica, 34, of the Nixon Chapel community in southwest Marshall County. Majica is wanted in connection with Saturday’s shooting which left one man dead and another critically injured after the three reportedly argued over the results of a quarter horse race held on private property just off U.S. Highway 278 west of Holly Pond.

The Cullman County Sheriff’s Office is offering a $1,000 reward for anyone who comes forward with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of Majica, described as a Hispanic male, 5-5, 160 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

Lt. Phillip Lambert, chief investigator with the sheriff’s office, said the warrants were also placed in the National Crime Information Computer. A nationwide alert has been issued through the NCIC for Majica, who fled the scene immediately after the shooting.

Authorities say the suspect should be considered armed and dangerous.

Marcos Antonio Gutierrez, 51, of Ft. Payne, was pronounced dead at the scene of the 2:26 p.m. shooting by Cullman County Coroner Gary Murphree. Also injured was Miguel Gonzalez, 28, of Rainsville.

Sheriff’s office dispatch received the initial 911 call at 2:26 p.m. Lambert said the first sheriff’s unit was on the scene within three minutes of the call. When they arrived they found one man dead with multiple gunshot wounds and one man injured with a gunshot to the buttocks.

Gonzalez, who was listed as critical upon his arrival at Cullman Regional Medical Center, underwent several hours of extensive surgery Saturday. His condition Thursday was much improved, Lambert said.

Lambert said when he got to the scene of the shooting — a makeshift horse racing track that stretched for approximately 100 yards on private property just a few hundred yards off U.S. Highway 278 — there was a group of about 15 Hispanic adults and children.

Witnesses told authorities an argument escalated into a fist fight among members of the two factions until one of the participants pulled a semi-automatic pistol he was carrying and fired on the two victims.

Authorities found seven spent 9 mm casings at the scene.

Investigators have requested the assistance of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to help locate Majica.

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