Police detain four in connection with L.A.-area shooting spree

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 25, 2012 11:23 PM
Police detain four in connection with L.A.-area shooting spree

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Police detained four people on Thursday in an investigation of a shooting spree in which three people were killed and two were wounded at a small business and a nearby home owned by members of the same family in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey.

None of the people detained had been placed under arrest in connection with Wednesday's back-to-back shootings, in which the victims are presumed to have been singled out by their assailant for attack, police said.

A police spokesman said on Wednesday that investigators believed it was more than a coincidence that all five victims shot at the two locations in Downey, a small city southeast of Los Angeles, were members of the same family.

Further details of the detentions were not released, though according to various local news accounts three of the four were men and one was a woman.

Details of the attacks remained murky. But according to authorities' initial account, the gunman walked into a commercial fire-protection business and started shooting, killing a man and woman and wounding a third person, described only as a female.

The suspect then moved on to the house two blocks away, where he killed a female occupant and wounded a 13-year-old boy, police said. Ages of the other victims were not given.

The gunman made his getaway in a car stolen from a member of the family, police said.

There was no sign of forced entry at either scene, and investigators have yet to determine whether anything but the stolen car was taken from either the business or the home, police said.

The two survivors, each of whom phoned the 911 emergency number to summon police after they were shot, both told authorities there was a verbal exchange between the gunman and his victims before he opened fire at each location, but police declined to elaborate.

Police Lieutenant Dean Milligan said there was no immediate reason to believe the shootings were related to street gangs or drugs, and that none of the victims was known to be involved in a divorce or child custody dispute. He said there was no record of any employees being fired recently.

(Reporting and writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Eric Walsh)