Gunman In OC Shooting Spree Described As Loner, ‘Gamer’
TUSTIN (CBSLA.com) — Officials Wednesday identified the first person killed by a 20-year-old man described as a loner during a multi-city Orange County shooting rampage.
Courtney Aoki, 20, of Buena Park, was shot multiple times around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday at the home of Ali Syed on Red Leaf Lane in Ladera Ranch.
“The relationship between the victim and the suspect is still unconfirmed and unknown at this time,” said spokesman Jim Amormino of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Amormino said Aoki was identified through fingerprints. Sources told KCAL9’s Michele Gile she was shot in the face and was unrecognizable.
After Syed killed Aoki, the young man fled the residence he shared with his parents in an SUV.
His mother, Sarwat Syed, called 911 after she heard shots downstairs from her third floor bedroom.
The OC Sheriff’s Department released a recording of that phone call:
“There is somebody in our house,” Sarwat cried.
The dispatcher said, “What does that mean? Did somebody break into your house?”
“No. I don’t know. I just came down. I just came down,” Sarwat replied.
“Do you see somebody injured? Do you see somebody shot?” the dispatcher asked.
“I…I…I…I don’t know,” cried the mother.
“Ma’am, take a deep breath, okay? We have deputies on the way,” the dispatcher said.
“I can’t talk,” said Sarwat.
The dispatcher said, “Okay. Take a deep breath. That’s all you need to do. Calm down a little, okay?”
Syed’s father also talked to the emergency dispatcher:
“Okay. Was somebody shot in your house?” asked the operator.
“I don’t know. My son is younger. He sometimes has friends over. I don’t know all the details at this point,” said the father.
The operator responded, “What did you hear? Tell me what happened.”
“I don’t know. He’s not home right now,” said the father.
Syed reportedly carjacked a number of vehicles across the cities of Orange, Tustin and Villa Park after he left his parents’ home.
Authorities said he fatally shot two people and injured at least three more before he committed suicide with a 12-gauge shotgun.
Amormino said an autopsy confirmed Syed died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head from the gun, which belonged to Syed and was purchased by his father a year ago.
Officials said they will now determine whether the 20-year-old, a part-time student at Saddleback College, was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“We are doing toxicology as part of his autopsy to determine if there are any drugs or narcotics in his system,” said Amormino.
Syed, who was unemployed, was described as a loner and “gamer.”
“What I mean by that is he spent a lot of time alone in his room playing video games,” Amormino said.
The motive of the shooting rampage is still unknown.
Vincent John LaBarbera Jr., Syed’s mother’s attorney, said the family is heartbroken by the entire situation.
“Their thoughts and prayers go out to the families of all the victims,” he said. “They will continue to assist authorities in the investigation as they themselves try to make sense of this tragedy. The Syed family has much to overcome in the months ahead and we ask that you respect their privacy at this time of tremendous sorrow.”
Meantime, LaBarbera is representing the 42-year-old mother in a 2011 hit-and-run accident that seriously injured a 4-year-old girl.
His client pleaded not guilty to the charges last July and is due in court for a pretrial hearing on Monday.
“There have been reports in the press of a 2011 automobile accident involving Mrs. Syed. Mrs. Syed is confident in the fairness of the court process and continues to assert her innocence in that over one and a half year case,” LaBarbera said.
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