MERIDIAN -- A Meridian woman whose apartment shares a wall with the unit where two people were shot in a unprovoked spasm of violence Tuesday night described a stark moment of terror as one of the rounds tore into her living room.
The resident at Cherry Lane Apartments - who didn't want to give her name because the shooter remained on the loose - said she had been sitting on her couch finishing a meal when the gunshots started at about 10:45 p.m.
Out of the corner of her vision, she saw a bullet explode through her wall, sending dust and debris flying.
"I felt the drywall in my hair so I thought the bullet had gone right by my head, so that terrified me," she said.
Two women ran out of the neighboring apartment, she said, one of them screaming for her to dial 911.
Police were on scene within minutes, the neighbor said. But the shooter was gone.
According to Meridian Police Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea, 33-year-old Marco Luis Romero of Nampa opened fire inside the apartment, hitting a 29-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman.
Romero, who has been out of prison on parole for only a month, remains at large.
Basterrechea said the male victim was hit twice in the legs and is expected to be OK. The 29-year-old woman, who was shot once in the chest, was in serious but stable condition Wednesday. Doctors worry the injury may leave her paralyzed, the deputy chief said.
Police say all five people in the unit were friends or family members of Romero, who had come to the apartment along with a relative to visit the occupants.
It's unclear why he started shooting, Basterrechea said, describing the attack as "unprovoked." Romero's family told investigators he had been acting increasingly erratic in the week leading up to the shooting.
Basterrechea said Romero also tried to shoot at the relative with whom he had come to the apartment, but missed. Neither that person, nor anyone in the adjoining apartment was hurt.
Romero was last seen wearing a black T-shirt and jeans. He's considered armed and dangerous; police have urged the public to call 911 rather than approach him.
But the neighbor who had a narrow miss with one of the shooter's bullets says she is afraid he is going to return to the apartment complex: Police warned that Romero may be planning more acts of violence against people he has a grudge against.
"I hope that he doesn't come back here thinking that anybody's still here that he wasn't able to finish," the neighbor said.
One thing was clear, however, she said: Cherry Lane was not going to be her home much longer. After six years at the apartment complex, she said, she was ready to get out.
"We're moving after this," she said. "That was the last straw."
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