An Atlantic City man was arrested Friday morning after shooting an acquaintance multiple times, police said.

Officers were called to a home on the 400 block of Elberon Avenue in the city's Chelsea Heights section at 4:46 a.m. for a man shot, Sgt. Monica McMenamin said.

Jeffrey Valencia, 24, of Atlantic City, was found on the floor inside the home with gunshot wounds, according to the police report. He was taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Campus, in Atlantic City, where he underwent surgery. He was listed in critical condition.

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The victim works as a security guard and is studying to be an emergency medical technician in the city.

A witness at the scene was able to give police the name of the shooter, who was arrested a short time later, McMenamin said.

Rudy Blanco, 21, was charged with aggravated assault and weapons offenses. He was in the Atlantic County Justice Facility on $150,000 bail.

The two were part of a group who had gathered at the residence to watch Thursday Night Football. About five men were left after the game, when Blanco and Valencia got into an argument that escalated to the shooting, McMenamin said.

Blanco fled the residence. He was found at his Harrisburg Avenue home about 10 a.m., after an investigation by the city's Violent Crimes Unit led by Lt. Rodney Ruark.

Blanco told investigators he threw the gun into the bay from the end of St. David's Place, police said.

Police Sgt. Scott McClaskey, along with firefighters Gregg Goff, Rick Derrickson and Bill Baldwin, of Brigantine's Water Response Team, spent hours in the bay near the Albany Avenue Bridge looking for the handgun.

The divers came in about 5:30 p.m. without finding the gun.

Each did eight to 10 sweeps with Lt. Dan Jackson spotting them, connected by a rope, Brigantine Fire Capt. Joe Maguire said.

A State Police boat blocked off the area where the divers were for their safety.

Detective Steve Rando is lead on the case. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call police at 609-347-5766 or CrimeStoppers at 609-652-1234. Information may be texted anonymously to tip411 (847411) beginning the text with ACPD.

Contact Lynda Cohen:


@LyndaCohen on Twitter

Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.

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