Any idiot can kill a few people at random, but it takes talent to kill the right people. In Los Angeles on Monday night, a man who identified himself as “a soldier of Allah” showed up at the offices of a music publishing company and killed two people, execution-style. He then jumped in his car and began shooting up the neighborhood, apparently at random, before he was finally cornered by LAPD officers. After being ordered out of his vehicle, the suspect opened fire on the officers, who had no choice but to shoot back.
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A suspect wanted in three separate street murders early Tuesday morning in Exposition Park and downtown Los Angeles that killed two people has been shot dead by police after a long chase and dramatic standoff on a major highway in the Orange County city of Fullerton.
At a meeting of the Citizens Commission on Police, Michel Moore, head of the LAPD, was asked if the department was investigating the shooting as a hate crime after it was revealed that two of the victims were of Asian descent.
We are very aware of this potential and we are working on it very actively, he said.
The situation unfolded shortly before 1 a.m. when the suspect opened fire on a vehicle near Figueroa Street and Exposition Boulevard, the LAPD said. One person was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
In the first attack, as far as I know, no words were exchanged, Moore said. There was a second attack. Their content will be important in helping us understand what was going on in the person’s mind.
About 10 minutes later, a second shooting took place at the Starbucks gas station on Figueroa and 28th. Street. The 25-year-old man, later identified as Alexis Carbajal, was sitting in his car and waiting in line for the store when he was shot multiple times and died at the scene, police said.
The family of the deceased told CBSLA that he was in his 20s and lived in the neighborhood. His wife was in the car with him, but she was not injured. His sister worked as a barista at Starbucks but was off duty at the time of the shooting.
A third shooting occurred minutes later at Figueroa and 7th Street in downtown Los Angeles, also killing the driver of a Cadillac Escalade. The 41-year-old man, later identified as Mingzhi Zhu, was working as an Uber driver and was chasing a passenger when he was shot.
Officers soon discovered that he matched the description of the shooting suspect, a man in a white Cherokee. That information was immediately shared with all patrol units to stop the violence, LAPD Lt. Raul Jovel said at a Tuesday morning briefing in Fullerton. The officers realized that the suspect was shooting at members of the community almost indiscriminately.
The shooting also prompted the nearby University of Southern California to alert its students.
About 15 minutes after the third shot was fired, officers spotted the suspect’s Jeep at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Maple Avenue, and the pursuit began.
The SUV drove onto Highways 10, 57 and 60 and was headed for Orange County. The suspect fired at the officers during the pursuit, the LAPD said.
Around 3:30 a.m., the California Highway Patrol placed spikes that brought a Jeep to a stop on the west side of Interstate 91 near the Raymond Avenue exit at the Anaheim/Fullerton border.
However, the suspect refused to get out of the SUV and continued to behave improperly by rolling up and down the windows. The LAPD SWAT team was called and the 91 Freeway was closed in both directions.
The police tried to negotiate with the man through loudspeakers.
At one point, they tried to get the suspect to talk to a family member, but were unsuccessful, Jovel said.
Police used stun guns and tear gas against the jeep. Then, at approximately 5:15 a.m., the suspect allegedly opened fire on the officers, who then returned fire. He was shot and died.
At one point, the suspect opened fire on the officers, resulting in a shooting involving the officers, Jovel said. The suspect was shot and pronounced dead at the scene by the local fire department.
A gun was found at the scene. The suspect, a man in his 40s or 50s, was not immediately identified.
We have no idea what caused it, Jovel said.
All westbound lanes of the 91 Freeway remained closed for most of the day, but reopened after 3 p.m.
Meanwhile, Figueroa Street was rebuilt between 27th and 30th streets. Street in Exposition Park was closed for more than eight hours while investigators examined several crime scenes.