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Shooting spree leaves 4 dead in California

By: AP
By: AP
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.

Orange County coroner's officials remove a body from the scene in Orange, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. Police say a chaotic 25-minute shooting spree through Orange County left a trail of dead and injured victims before the shooter killed himself. Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino say there are at least six crime scenes with three people, including the suspected gunman, dead and several others wounded. Tustin police Supervisor Dave Kanoti said the shootings started with an apparent carjacking just after 5 a.m. Tuesday in an unincorporated Ladera Ranch area of Orange County. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

TUSTIN, Calif. (AP) -- 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.

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TUSTIN, Calif. (AP) -- A young man shot a woman to death in a home early Tuesday then went on a spree of carjackings and random shootings across Orange County that left two more people dead and three others wounded before the gunman killed himself, authorities said.

Many more victims were shot at but unhurt, Tustin Lt. Paul Garaven said.

The gunman was only described as being in his 20s, and his motive was not known, according to officials of at least four agencies investigating multiple crime scenes.

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 shootings began at 4:45 a.m. when deputies responding to a call found the woman shot multiple times in a house in Ladera Ranch, about 55 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

Several shootings occurred in the next hour at other locations.

One involved a carjacking at Interstate 5 and Red Hill Avenue. Police said the victim was uninjured, but an innocent bystander was hit by gunfire and taken to a hospital.

Reports indicated the gunman also opened fire at other vehicles on a freeway.

Later, a pickup truck taken by the carjacker began to run out of gas, so he stopped at State Route 55 and McFadden Avenue in Santa Ana, city police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.

"He gets out of the vehicle, confronts our victim who is in his BMW, he orders him out of the vehicle, walks him to the side of the curb and executes our victim," Bertagna said.

The shooter then drove to a Tustin business called Micro Center. A utility-type pickup was carjacked, one person was killed, and another wounded, Garaven said.

Officers located the suspect and followed him into the city of Orange.

When officers tried to stop him, he got out of the vehicle and killed himself, Garaven said. A shotgun was recovered at the scene.

Authorities did not have details about all the victims.

"There have been other people coming forward saying they were shot at or their cars were shot at," Garaven said but none had reported any serious injuries.

Of the wounded, two were described as having serious injuries and one was said to be minor.

The southbound 55 McFadden Avenue off-ramp was closed until further notice.

Tustin is about 35 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.


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