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Police still looking for suspect after shooting at New Year’s Eve house party in Auburn

AUBURN, Wash. — The search is on for a man who shot two people at a New Year’s Eve house party and then ran off into the night. 

The shooting happened at about 10:30 p.m. Sunday on 55th Place South in Auburn, just west of Emerald Downs.

Those who heard the gunfire say it was too close to home.

The peace of this Auburn neighborhood was shattered an hour and a half before the start of a new year.

“We were just in the living room there watching a movie and we heard four shots,” said Balthazar Juarez. ”And we said right away this was not a fireworks, this is a shot. We recognized right away that was not fireworks.”

But what Juarez did not know was that the gunfire was so close.

“We never realized that it was next to our fence,” he said. “So, it was next door.”

Next door at a New Year’s Eve party that his neighbor’s son was hosting while his parents were back in Mexico.

“Yeah, it was just a friend’s party,” said Ondigo Galeana.

He says someone at the party he did not know was shooting off a gun in the backyard.

“And he was just shooting in the air,” he said.  “So, my nephew confronted him because he told him that wasn’t cool at all.”

He says the suspect and his nephew came back into the house.  The two men got into an argument and the suspect drew his weapon again.

“He fired outside and inside, too,” he said. And the suspect ended up hitting him and his nephew.

He says a bullet grazed him along his back.  But his 28-year-old nephew was shot twice in the chest and sent to the hospital.

It could have been worse. Galeana says at least eight people were in the living room when the shooting happened.

It’s all too close for comfort for Balthazar Juarez.

“Luckily, it was not bigger than that you know,” Juarez said. “No one got killed, like passed away. But still, still scary.”

Auburn police followed a vehicle they believed was involved in the shooting.  They questioned the occupants and concluded they were not the suspect.

So, the search for who did this continues.

As of late January 1, the victim is in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

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