San Diego

Man Convicted of Attempted Murder in 2015 Oceanside Target Shooting Sentenced

Surveillance video shows the moment a scuffle inside an Oceanside Target turned into a shooting, sending people scrambling to the floor.

A man who fired a gun inside an Oceanside Target store was sentenced Monday to the maximum sentence in state prison. 

Dennis Lam was sentenced to 25 years in state prison for attempted murder in connection with the June 2015 shooting, according to prosecutor Keith Watanabe.

Surveillance video captured the fight that led to a shooting inside the Target store at the Camino Town and Country Shopping Center on El Camino Real.

A loss prevention officer led Lam to the front of the store when a scuffle between a second Target employee and Lam began off camera.

The fight lasted only 10 seconds before Lam reached into his bag, pulled out a gun and fired at the floor.

The shots scattered everyone for a time. It was just long enough for the Lam to return and grab the phone he had dropped, the video showed.

Lam escaped in a 7-series BMW, which California Highway Patrol chased before he bailed out of it and stole a truck from another man. He and a second suspect were arrested a short time later.

Watanabe said the incident could very well have led to a murder charge. 

"This was a serious case. It's about as serious a robbery case as can be," Watanabe said. "The individual had several times to prove himself to society...which he failed to do. For the protection of the public, we asked he be locked up for the maximum time."

When he fired two shots, Watanabe said, the bullets could have struck an innocent shopper, but "by the grace of God," no one was seriously injured.

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