TUSTIN (CBSLA.com) — A gunman killed three people and injured three others before turning the gun on himself during a shooting spree Tuesday in Orange County.
KNX 1070’s Ron Kilgore reports police are investigating multiple crime scenes, spanning across the cities of Orange, Tustin and Villa Park.
Orange County Sheriff’s deputies said a female victim in her 20s was killed at the suspect’s home on Red Leaf Lane in Ladera Ranch. Someone inside the home called officials to report the shooting at 4:45 a.m.
Officials say the woman is not related to the suspect, identified as 20-year-old part-time student Ali Syed.
Syed lives at the house with his parents and two younger siblings, who were home at the time of the shooting.
CBS2’s Cristy Fajardo reports the parents of the suspect say they did not know the victim.
“We don’t know exactly what the victim was doing at the suspect’s home — that’s why we’ve not been able to establish a relationship between the suspect and the victim,” Orange County Sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino said.
Police said Syed then drove the family’s GMC Denali to Tustin around 5:30 a.m. and carjacked a man at a gas station near the Santa Ana (5) Freeway at Redhill Avenue and Nisson Road, according to Lt. Paul Garaven of the Tustin Police Department.
A man in a Cadillac saw Syed load two long guns into the stolen pickup truck. He attempted to flee, but as he drove away the suspect shot him in the back of the head.
“It was like, ‘Pow!’, two seconds go by, and then two-second intervals between each gunshot, and then you hear the car take off,” witness Charlie Lopez said.
Syed drove the stolen truck along the northbound 5 Freeway before stopping on the transition road to the southbound Costa Mesa (55) Freeway.
He then exited the truck and began shooting at drivers on the transition road, police said.
“Three additional vehicles were hit, one of them, whether through the rounds or through debris, was shot in the hand and the face,” Tustin Police Dept. Chief Scott Jordan said.
Syed then reentered the truck and accelerated quickly on the southbound 55 Freeway. He took the McFadden Village offramp before driving the vehicle up and over a curb, according to police. The suspect then approached Melvin Lee Edwards, 69, who was stopped at a stop sign in his BMW, ordered him out of the vehicle at gunpoint, and then walked him to the side of the curb, where he executed him, according to Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.
“Our hearts go out to the family, our condolences go out to the family and this is truly a tragedy for all of us here in the county,” Santa Ana Police Dept. Interim Chief Carlos Rojas said.
Police said Syed then drove Edward’s BMW back southbound on the 55 Freeway to the Micro Center computer store parking lot at Edinger and Newport.
A plummer, 26-year-old Jeremy Lewis, who was working on a construction site across the street, was fatally shot in his vehicle in the parking lot.
A second plummer confronted Syed as he was getting into Lewis’ vehicle. The suspect pointed his gun, told the man to run and shot him in the arm as he fled. Syed then entered the injured victim’s utility truck and drove northbound on 55 Freeway.
That victim was transported to the hospital and is in critical condition.
California Highway Patrol located the suspect in the stolen vehicle and followed him to east Katella Avenue and north Wanda Road in Villa Park.
“Mr. Syed exited his vehicle while it was still in motion,” Jordan said. “Almost instantly as he exited the vehicle he took the shotgun, put it to his head and killed himself.”
The suspect lived at home with his parents and attended a class at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo. He has no criminal record.
“There is no conspiracy here; there are no outstanding suspects,” Jordan said. “It was a very very unfortunate situation, but I don’t think the people here in Orange County need to be worried about their safety.”