By JOE GORMAN
WARREN - Police say a man shot in the face Wednesday evening was not a victim of a carjacking, as he first told police.
Instead, Craig Hoffman, 34, of Larchmont Avenue N.E., was shot in a drug deal that went bad, Detective John Greaver said.
Hoffman was shot about 7:50 p.m. at Benton Avenue S.E. and Draper Street S.E. and drove his pickup about two miles before he was spotted by police on South Street S.E. Police said he was trying to drive himself to Trumbull Memorial Hospital.
Officers responding to the shooting call saw his pickup truck on the way to the shooting scene. Officers doubled back and stopped the truck because they thought the truck might have been involved in the shooting.
''He stepped out and got out (of the truck),'' Greaver said.
Hoffman was taken to Trumbull Memorial by ambulance, then transfered by helicopter to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. He was listed in serious condition Thursday, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Greaver would not say why officers do not think someone was trying to take Hoffman's truck.
''We're not looking at that (carjacking) now,'' Greaver said. ''We're looking at it as a drug deal gone bad.''
Police did recover some spent shell casings at the scene, but Greaver said they do not yet know what caliber they are. They will be sent to the state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation for testing, he said.
A neighbor heard the gunshots and called police, he said.
The area has not been known as an active point for drug sales recently because of several demolitions there, he said. The scene where the shooting occurred is an open field and no houses are around.
This is the second time this year Hoffman was shot. In June, police said he was involved in a shootout with his wife in Vienna, where she was also shot. He was hit twice in the confrontation.
His wife, Brooke Hoffman, 38, pleaded not guilty to charges of improperly discharging a firearm into a habitation and felonious assault. Each charge carries a firearm specification.
A Trumbull County Common Pleas Court grand jury declined to indict Craig Hoffman on charges of trafficking in cocaine related to the shooting.
Police called the argument a lovers' quarrel and believe Brooke Hoffman was shot behind the ear as she and her husband struggled over a gun. Craig Hoffman was shot in the shoulder and leg.
Inside the home, police found several weapons and also some crack cocaine.
She has a pretrial hearing scheduled for Jan. 23.
In 2008, police said Brooke Hoffman rammed her truck into a neighbor's home while looking for her husband.
He was accused of head-butting her in another report from 2007.