10 August 2020

Los Angeles shooting spree leaves 4 dead, 2 wounded

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Four people were shot dead and two wounded on Thursday in a shooting spree that spread across four three neighborhoods in Los Angeles, California, and triggered a 12-hour manhunt before police tackled and arrested an armed suspect. reports citing American media that a Los Angeles police spokesman identified the suspect as Gerry Zaragoza, 26, and said he was held on pending murder charges in the shooting deaths of his father and brother, and the wounding of his mother with a gun shot. The spokesman did not identify the victims.

The shooting spree started at an apartment the suspect shared with his parents at about 2 am on Thursday in LA’s Canoga Park, police said.

Police said the suspect also allegedly shot and killed a woman he knew at a gas station in North Hollywood about 45 minutes later, but did not characterize their relationship.

At the same time, he allegedly shot and wounded a gas station clerk. The man was shot five times and was in critical condition, the Los Angeles Times and other media reported.

Later, police said Zaragoza allegedly shot a gardener he tried to rob at an ATM machine. And at about 1 pm he allegedly shot and killed a man on a bus in the Van Nuys neighborhood, police said.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Zaragoza was arrested in Canoga Park after being tackled by plain clothes officers. Police used a taser to subdue him and recovered a firearm during the arrest.

Michael Ramia, who employed Zaragoza's father, Carlos, as a carpet cleaning technician, described the older man as "a guy with no enemies, very outgoing."

"The nicest guy you'd want to be around," said Ramia, who added that the elder Zaragoza worked for him for 12 years.

He noted that Zaragoza had confided in him that his son was battling drug problems, adding the father tried to help the son by pushing him to come to work with him. Ramia said the younger Zaragoza seemed to have "no motivation."

"He was a father just trying to protect his son," Ramia said of Zaragoza's father. "He did it to his last day. He wouldn't give up on his son."

In September, Amnesty International warned that the gun violence situation in the US has grown into a full blown "human rights crisis" and the administration of President Donald Trump was doing little to solve it.

Loose laws that allow people to own handguns without a license or permit in 30 US states and the lack of preventive measures such as a national registration system for gun owners were among the factors that Amnesty said contributed to the situation.

According to the organization, an average of 106 individuals died a day from firearm-related incidents in 2016, totaling 38,658. Of that figure, nearly 23,000 were suicides and more than 14,400 were homicides, Amnesty said.

The report also said that more than 116,000 people suffered injuries from firearms in 2016.

2019.07.26 / 18:32
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