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Suspect ID'd in California shooting spree that leaves 4 dead

By Gillian Flaccus

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:30 p.m. HST, Feb 19, 2013

TUSTIN, Calif. » The violence stretched across 25 miles in Orange County and was as brutal as it was fast-moving.

In less than an hour, a 20-year-old student wielding a shotgun killed a woman in his home and two commuters during carjackings early today, shot up vehicles on a Southern California freeway and committed suicide as police closed in on him, authorities said.

One driver was forced from his BMW at a stop sign, marched to a curb and killed as witnesses watched in horror.

"He was basically executed," Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said. "There were at least six witnesses."

The shooter, Ali Syed, was an unemployed, part-time student who lived with his parents at the Ladera Ranch residence where the first victim was slain, Tustin police Chief Scott Jordan said. Authorities said Syed was taking one course at Saddleback College, a two-year community college.

Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said the woman killed at the home was in her 20s. She was not identified and was not related to the shooter, he said, adding that it wasn't known what she was doing at the home.

Syed's parents were in the house at the time, fled the residence when shots were fired, and reported it, he said.

Jordan said Syed stated to one carjacking victim: "I don't want to hurt you. I killed somebody. Today is my last day."

Jordan said there was no indication of a motive, but he sought to assure residents that the violence was over.

"There is no conspiracy here, there are no outstanding suspects, it was a very, very unfortunate situation, but I don't think the people here in Orange County have to be worried about their safety," he said.

The violence began at 4:45 a.m., when deputies responded to a call from Ladera Ranch, a sleepy inland town about 55 miles southeast of Los Angeles. They found the woman shot multiple times.

Jason Glass, who lives across the street, said he couldn't sleep and was watching TV in his garage with the door partly open when he heard what sounded like gun shots.

Then he heard a commotion and the sound of a car speeding away.

Hours later, his neighborhood was flooded with police, and crime scene tape sectioned off the street.

Glass said a man and three young children had been escorted from the home where the shooting occurred.

"I just happened to be in here when this happened," Glass said about his garage. "To think he could have rolled under my door or needed a car or needed to hide is crazy. It's freaking me out."

From Ladera Ranch, police said the gunman headed north and within 30 minutes carjacked a Dodge pickup truck in Tustin, about 20 miles away. The driver was uninjured, but a bystander was hit by gunfire and taken to a hospital.

The suspect then began firing at vehicles in the area where Interstate 5 and State Route 55 connect.

Three people reported being targeted, including one who suffered a minor injury, Tustin police Lt. Paul Garaven said. Two cars were damaged.

When the truck got low on gas, the gunman stopped at State Route 55 and McFadden Avenue in Santa Ana, stole the BMW and killed the driver, Bertagna said.

The victim was identified as Melvin Edwards, 69, of Laguna Hills, who was en route to his Santa Ana business.

The shooter then drove to a Tustin business called Micro Center and carjacked another small truck, killing construction worker Jeremy Lewis, 26, of Fullerton, and wounding another person.

Officers trailed the gunman to Orange, a city about five miles away.

As they closed in, the man got out of the vehicle at a busy intersection and shot himself, police said.

A shotgun was recovered at the scene.

Associated Press writers Sue Manning and Shaya Tayefe Mohajer in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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allie wrote:
the nightmare continues
on February 19,2013 | 06:30AM
hanalei395 wrote:
The American way ... backed by the U.S. Constitution. Whenever there's a quarrel, there's always a gun nearby to end the quarrel.
on February 19,2013 | 07:52AM
Denominator wrote:
In the middle east they use bombs.
on February 19,2013 | 09:07AM
hanalei395 wrote:
In a civil war, you do use bombs.
on February 19,2013 | 09:16AM
allie wrote:
on February 19,2013 | 09:13AM
Anonymous wrote:
It makes me want to read research on why males are so often the killers. Is it possible that we need to ban males? Only sort of kidding. The engineering of improved humans is right around the corner, I'd bet.
on February 19,2013 | 07:55AM
allie wrote:
true...most males are really just clueless
on February 19,2013 | 09:14AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Tell that to the several hundred thousand men who've died through many generations giving you the freedom to make stupid comments.
on February 19,2013 | 04:36PM
RichardCory wrote:
allie would probably take your comment literally and try to find the nearest time machine.
on February 19,2013 | 08:25PM
sluggah wrote:
Hi ho and a hearty seig heil to you, too!
on February 19,2013 | 10:07AM
primo1 wrote:
The evolution of the human species is being held back because the wrong people are breeding...
on February 19,2013 | 10:23AM
cojef wrote:
What about the female being tried for murdering her sex partner in Arizona, who is claiming self defense after shooting a number times, the stabbed as many times , and finally slit his throat from ear to ear. During the trial thus far a torrid sex scene has been described in her testimony.
on February 19,2013 | 03:15PM
bpet wrote:
There does not seem to be any relief from events such as this . . .
on February 19,2013 | 08:00AM
NotNasti wrote:
Guns make impulsive killings impersonal and easy.
on February 19,2013 | 08:26AM
patk wrote:
Agree. Thanks NRA.
on February 19,2013 | 11:07AM
tiki886 wrote:
If even one of the hijacked car drivers were armed, they would have had a chance at saving their own life. I have several hand guns but the State of Hawaii makes me keep them at home. That makes it safe for a criminal to kill me.
on February 19,2013 | 12:24PM
WKAMA wrote:
He's got a gun trained on you. There's no way you're going to get your gun and shoot before he does. Stop dreaming.
on February 19,2013 | 12:41PM
st1d wrote:

please note that the robber who reaches the rear office, fires off at least one round. but, the guard is able to respond with rounds of his own.

so, even if the crumb gets one shot off, there's a chance you will be able to defend yourself and others if you are armed yourself.

on February 19,2013 | 04:00PM
hawaiikone wrote:
So you'd rather simply sit there and do nothing. Your choice.
on February 19,2013 | 04:38PM
hanalei395 wrote:
Having a gun in your car. For some Americans, comes in handy during road rage.
on February 19,2013 | 01:05PM
cojef wrote:
In Texas it is not unusual to see a rifle on gun rack mounted on his pick-up rear window. A very conservative state when relating to gun rights, ala the 2nd Amendment.
on February 19,2013 | 03:20PM
paradiddle wrote:
It's clear we simply need to have armed guards at every intersection, school, places of worship, transportaion ports, buildings and all places where people gather. Oh wait...itsn't that called martial law?????
on February 19,2013 | 09:43AM
false wrote:
Dang!!! Why don't these guys just shoot themselves first.
on February 19,2013 | 10:14AM
808warriorfan wrote:
What's scary is this sounds like random acts .....
on February 19,2013 | 10:21AM
manapua19 wrote:
How could this possibly have happened?!? California has the strictest gun control laws in the nation!
on February 19,2013 | 11:03AM
Oahuan wrote:
BAN GUNS!!! Meanwhile how many people will die in California today from an auto accident? BAN CARS!!!!
on February 19,2013 | 11:12AM
Leinanij wrote:
You must be an NRA member because the motto from the one-trick pony NRA's of “People kill people, not guns” is totally ignorant. People kill people with guns intentionally and those statistics will surpass the thousands killed accidentally by cars in only a few years.
on February 19,2013 | 11:33AM
saveparadise wrote:
Lei, Try alcohol related deaths total more than all wars put together and go campaign against drinking instead.
on February 19,2013 | 03:46PM
BanzaiZen wrote:
"Guns don't kill people... people do. You can use a kitchen knife or even your bare hands to kill." That's true, so why not bring a knife to a gun fight? If guns don't kill, why use them in war? Guns make it easy for people to kill others and themselves. Protection of self and family? The Newtown killer's mother bought her guns and trained for that very reason. Having a gun makes it more likely to be killed by a gun. Try pulling a gun on someone who is pointing one at you. It also makes it more likely to kill a loved one - deliberately or not, as "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius now knows.
on February 19,2013 | 11:23AM
Mallory wrote:
what an effin coward
on February 19,2013 | 02:22PM
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