Man critical after friend shoots him in Key West

A Key West man is in critical condition after being shot twice early Thursday morning.

Key West Police Department spokeswoman Alyson Crean said Anthony Valdes, 40, shot Ray Alvarez Jr., 28, with a handgun during an argument over money at 3518 Duck Ave.  It happened just after midnight. Alvarez was flown to Ryder Trauma Center in Miami.

Alvarez reportedly was shot in a leg and his back. His aunt, Esther Guieb, says he is paralyzed.

Crean said Valdes and Alvarez are longtime friends. She said Valdes told police the argument started when he confronted Alvarez about money he believes Alvarez stole. The confrontation grew physical when "Alvarez became violent" and attempted to cut Valdes, Crean said. Then Alvarez put Valdes in a choke hold, resulting in Valdes pulling the gun from his pocket and shooting his friend.

Crean said Valdes told police he feared for his life. No charges have been filed, but the case has been presented to the Monroe County State Attorney's Office.