Share This Page

Authorities: 4 dead in Southern California shooting spree

| Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, 11:24 a.m.

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 man in his 20s shot and killed a woman in her home and two commuters during carjackings early Tuesday, 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 red light, 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."

It was unclear if the victims knew each other or the shooter, Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said.

"It might have been a random thing," he said. "We just don't know."

The violence began at 4:45 a.m., when deputies responded to a call in Ladera Ranch, a sleepy inland town about 55 miles southeast of Los Angeles. They found a 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 shooter then drove to a Tustin business called Micro Center and carjacked another small truck, killing one person and wounding another, Garaven said.

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.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.