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3 dead after 5 family members shot in SocCal

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POSTED October 24, 2012 9:08 p.m.

DOWNEY (AP) — Five members of the same family were shot and three of them died Wednesday in connected attacks at a business and residence in a Los Angeles suburb, police said.

The shootings occurred at a business called United States Fire Protection Services and at a nearby home, where family members of the owner live, said Downey police Lt. Dean Milligan.

A woman was found dead at the home, and a man and a woman were killed at the business, he said. Two other shooting victims, including a 13-year-old boy, were in critical but stable condition at hospitals.

It was unclear how all the victims were related. A small boy, age 4 or 5, who also was related to the victims, was found unharmed after authorities contacted a school.

Milligan said police were looking for a gunman who apparently escaped in a black Camaro that belonged to a victim or a victim's family member.

The shooter was unknown to the surviving victims, who "don't believe him to be a former employee, a friend of the family, or a former friend of the family," Milligan said.

A motive remained unknown, but police have ruled out a random attack because the shootings occurred at separate locations targeting the same family, Milligan said.

"We do believe there is a specific reason this family was targeted and we want to know what that is," he said.

No witnesses have come forward and police were reviewing surveillance camera footage in hopes it would give them a glimpse of the shooter.

Police received two 911 calls just after 11 a.m. — one from the home made by the 13-year-old survivor and one from the business — about the attacks.

Police believe the suspect engaged in a brief conversation at both the business and the residence with the victims.

Milligan said the 13-year-old boy was the only one survivor that police have been able to talk to extensively, and they were waiting to get further information from him.

The boy told police he and the adult woman were transported three blocks from the business to the home in the same car that the suspect later used to flee.

Detectives were waiting to talk to him again to find out whether the victims drove themselves to the home or were driven there by the suspect, Milligan said.

There was no sign of forced entry at the home or businesses, and the home was not ransacked, he added.

United States Fire Protection Services is in an industrial area of Downey across from a bottling plant. The family owned business sells professional firefighting gear and equipment such as hoses, valves and extinguishers, according to its website.

In the first hours after the shooting, as news media gathered outside police tape, a man who said his wife worked at the business showed up at the crime scene and frantically said he needed to know if she was safe.

An officer pointed him toward a command post and he ran in that direction, pushing cameras aside.

Blanca Parker, who works next door, said the owners were very friendly.

"They were hard working," Parker said. "They worked seven days a week, 24-7."

Parker added the owners made security a top priority, even though the area was considered safe.

"Every time we have gone in there it is locked. Sometimes you don't even know they are there," she said. "You always have to knock beforehand."

Downey is about 20 miles southeast of Los Angeles.


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