LOS ANGELES – A Southern California man is accused of shooting his wife and then holding her and their seven-year-old son captive in an apartment for 26 days, authorities said Tuesday.
Michael Venegas, 37, was arrested Sunday in Rancho Cucamonga on suspicion of attempted murder, kidnapping and false imprisonment, San Bernardino County sheriff's officials said.
Investigators learned of the 26-year-old victim's ordeal earlier in the day while she was being treated at a hospital. Police did not detail how the woman escaped.
The woman told detectives she argued with Venegas, who is a paraplegic and uses a wheelchair, on April 1. As she packed to leave the apartment, he shot her in the chest with a 9mm handgun and then held her against her will.
"She said she feared not only for her own safety, but for the safety of her child, and that's why she didn't try to escape earlier," sheriff's spokeswoman Jodi Miller said.
The woman continued to bring the boy to school every day, Miller said.
There were no details on how the gunshot wound was treated during the weeks she was being held. The bullet passed through her body, according to officials.
The woman ultimately escaped with her son on Sunday and fled to the hospital, where a social worker called deputies, officials said.
Venegas is being held on $500,000 bail and is due in court Wednesday, jail records showed. Miller didn't know if he has a lawyer.