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Crime & Justice

3 family members killed, 2 hospitalized in Downey shootings

The scene in Downey where shootings took place on Cleta Street, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012.
The scene in Downey where shootings took place on Cleta Street, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012.
Erika Aguilar/KPCC
The scene in Downey where shootings took place on Cleta Street, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012.
An image from a video shot from a helicopter showing police as they investigate a reported shooting in an industrial area in Downey.

Downey police are trying to piece together why a gunman targeted a family at at a business and later at home, killing three people and injuring two more. The suspect who fled in what authorities believe is one of the family owned cars remains at large.

Downey police received a call right before 11:15 a.m. Wednesday about a shooting at the business on the 8700 block of Cleta St. Within five minutes, another 9-1-1 call about a shooting came from a house approximately two blocks away.

A man and a woman were pronounced dead at the business. A woman was found dead at the home. One teenage boy and an adult female sustained injury from the shooting.

“We do not believe that this was a random act of violence,” said Downey Police Lt. Dean Milligan.  “We do believe that for some reason this family was targeted.”  

All of the victims are family. One of the survivors is a 13-year-old boy, who was shot in the upper arm and who also made the 9-1-1 call from the home. He has been giving the police information about the suspect.

Police said the victims described the man as an African-American male who left in a black Camaro with the license plate 6LEA010. They told police they didn’t recognize the suspect as someone they knew.

Milligan said they don’t believe the suspect forced his way into the business or the house. He said there was a brief conversation or an exchange of words between the shooter and the victims before the man opened fire on them.

All afternoon, investigators walked in an out of the business and the house taking photographs and notes. The family-owned fire protection business is located in a mostly industrial street with a few homes. A crowd of neighbors gathered to get more information at the blocked off neighborhood intersections.  Some of them like John Popper waited to get access to their homes.

“This is a quiet neighborhood,” he said. I walk at night and ride my bicycle. No problem.”

Sherry Diyorio lives behind the family’s home on the other street. She didn’t know the family but said her daughter knows the teenage boy through school.

“That poor kid,” she said. “He’s only in middle school. That’s what upsets me.”

Investigators are reviewing surveillance video from nearby businesses in a search for more information about the suspect.

Below is a map with the approximate location of the shootings.

This story has been updated.

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