Botched drug deal at Lake Tahoe leads to fatal shooting
February 1, 2016
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A 40-year-old Amador County resident was killed Saturday, Jan. 30, after being shot in the chest during a suspected drug deal gone wrong at a South Lake Tahoe hotel.
Police were called to the Beverly Lodge, located at 3480 Lake Tahoe Blvd., at 7:42 p.m. Saturday and found Dennis Michael Wright Jr. on the ground outside one of the rooms at the hotel suffering from at least one gunshot wound to the chest, according to a press release from the city. Wright was taken to Barton Memorial Hospital, where he died from his injuries.
Police believe the shooting stemmed from a drug deal between Wright, his 45-year-old female companion and several other individuals. Wright and the woman drove to the Beverly Lodge to sell 100 pounds of marijuana, according to the release. Several people came and went during the interaction.
"The details of their mutual interaction are still being investigated, but culminated with at least one of the suspects discharging a handgun several times while outside the rooms and in the area of the motel parking lot," according to the release.
Police described the alleged perpetrators only as white and black men in their 20s.
"There is no suspect vehicle description at this point. SLTPD detectives have conducted searches of the motel room and of two vehicles [that] were struck by bullets in the motel parking lot," according to the release. "Police are currently attempting to identify and locate other individuals who are considered investigative leads in this case."
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The 45-year-old woman witnessed the entire encounter, was struck in the head with an unidentified object and sustained a "significant, though non-life threatening" head injury, according to the release. Police said she believes she may have been pistol-whipped. Detectives are working with the woman while gathering more information on the shooting.
On Monday, Feb. 1, South Lake Tahoe police Lt. Brian Williams said an autopsy of Wright was planned for Tuesday morning. Several investigative leads are being pursued and police sketches of the suspects are also being developed, Williams said.
Police found "at least" two handguns and ammunition for the weapons inside the vehicle driven by Wright and his female companion, according to the release.
South Lake Tahoe police, the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office and the El Dorado District Attorney's Office continue to investigate the case.
Police ask anyone who may have information about this case to call the South Lake Tahoe Police Department at 530-542-6100 or, to remain anonymous, Lake Tahoe Secret Witness at 530-541-6800.