Wheeling man shot to death; first murder there since 2010

Police are investigating the murder of Rafael Orozco, 23, who was found shot to death last night about a block from his Wheeling home.  It’s the first murder in Wheeling since 2010.

Orozco lived in the 500 block of Pleasant Run Drive in the Wine Tree Apartments.  His family members and friends did not want to talk this morning about what happened last night, but they say he was out to walk the dog.

Wheeling police were called to the apartment complex around 9 p.m., just minutes after Orozco was shot in the chest.  Up to 50 people were out last night enjoying the mild weather.

This morning investigators combed the area for evidence after interviewing at least a dozen witnesses.  Some said the gunman seemed to be shooting indiscriminately into the crowd.

Residents are pointing to increasing gang activity in the area.  But those who knew Rafael Orozco say he was not a gang member.

“He was a good guy.  I don’t why he got shot — I think he was just the wrong person,” said Oroczo’s friend, Omar Rivas.  “They got the wrong person. Everywhere around here is gangs.”

“In the last year we have been out here for various types of crimes — criminal damages, but nothing in the way of a shooting,” said Wheeling Police Deputy Chief John Teevans.  “We do have some gangs that have identified themselves out here.  But at this time we don’t know for sure if this is a gang incident.”

Police are not saying whether any of the witnesses were able to identify the gunman, so it is not known yet whether he was also a resident of the apartment complex or just passing through.

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