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Police: Weekend shooting drug related

Jan. 29, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- A Saturday night shooting in Huntington was related to drugs, according to Huntington Police Lt. John Williams.

A 17-year-old girl from Huntington received three gunshot wounds just before 10 p.m. Saturday at the intersection of 19th Street and 5th Avenue West.

That's where investigators believe the girl encountered two assailants they described as young, possibly teenage, males. Williams said the three parties were known to each other.

"This wasn't a random act where someone just ran up and shot an innocent victim that was walking down the street," he said. "That's not how it went down."

The teenage victim remained sedated and in very serious condition Monday afternoon at a local hospital, Williams said. He noted some improvement, saying doctors had removed her from a ventilator. The gunshots wounded her head, upper body and lower back.

"She's a very lucky individual," he said.

Officers found one gun at the scene. It was in the woman's possession, although ownership had not been determined Monday, Williams said.

The lieutenant added the victim did not discharge her weapon and it did not cause her injuries.

Investigators are confident of a link to drugs, although Williams said they are still trying to determine the victim's involvement and the type of drug involved. No drugs were found at the scene.

The girl had spent much of the evening at a friend's house about a half-block east of the shooting. She left the residence telling friends at the house she had to do something. They heard gunshots a few minutes later.

Williams said police have no information linking those friends to circumstances with the shooting.

"They didn't really have a reason why she left the residence or what she was going to do," he said.

Police are looking into any communication the victim had with her attackers among other evidence. Williams urged anyone with information to call the Huntington Police Department tip line at 304-696-4444.

"Eventually we are going to get to the bottom of this and we'll be knocking on some doors," he said. "I think some people know what's coming."

The teenage victim had not been attending a local high school. She had opted for an alternative type of education, Williams said. He cited department policy in declining comment about any prior criminal record.

Follow Curtis Johnson via Twitter @curtisjohnsonHD and http://facebook.com/curtisjohnsonHD