NORTH OF MONTANA — Three women shot at in an alley just off of Santa Monica’s Palisades Park may have been targeted because of some sort of dealings in their past, and one of the two people hit by gunfire remains in critical condition, police said Saturday.

Doctors passing by the shooting Friday night stopped and immediately began lifesaving efforts that may have prevented one of the women from dying, police and a witness said.

Shots rang out at about 9:30 p.m. Friday behind an apartment at the corner of Ocean Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard, Santa Monica police Lt. Dan Solerno said. The area is home to multi-million-dollar condos with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.

A suspect, described as “a possibly white man,” was seen firing a handgun at the three women, striking two of them, and then running to the east, police said.

Salerno said two passing physicians heard the gunshots and provided immediate medical care to the victims until paramedics arrived, transporting the victims to area hospital where one woman was listed in critical condition and the other in stable condition.

Salerno said both victims were expected to survive their injuries.

“Preliminary investigation indicates that the victims may have been specifically targeted as a result of previous incidents in which they were involved,” he said.

Police said the shooter was described as a male, possibly white, in his mid-20s, about 5 foot 10 inches to 6 feet tall, and weighing approximately 180 pounds. He last seen wearing a black T-shirt and tan shorts, and may have facial hair.

A neighbor, who refused to give his name, was outside walking his dog near Ocean Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard when he said he heard the shots coming from 135 San Vicente Blvd.

“It was real rapid fire. It wasn’t like `Bang! Bang!’ It was eight to ten shots. And then I heard a woman scream — really scream,” he said.

“I called 911 and told them there were shots fired. The police really responded but they cordoned off the area and closed the streets.

“I would have thought the shots came from the alley,” he said. “They said it happened at a party. I’m not sure if there was a party. But I do know they have parties there.”

Another neighbor — a middle-aged woman with red hair — said hovering helicopters kept her and neighbors up throughout the night.

The scene today had returned to normal, with hundred of bicyclists, joggers and babystrollers passing. The red-haired neighbor had set up a yard sale.

Police asked anyone with more information to call police at (310) 458-


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