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Crime & Justice

Police question man in killings of 3 Downey family members

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

Lt. Dean Milligan with Downey police said they continue to detain one man – who fits the description of the shooter – for questioning. Three other people, who were detained with the man on Thursday afternoon, were released.

The 13-year old boy who suffered a gunshot wound to the upper arm has been released from the hospital to his family. One woman remains in critical but stable condition.

The shootings began just after 11 a.m. Wednesday when a man entered the United States Fire Protection Services building on Cleta Street. Detectives said the suspect and the victims spoke briefly before the man opened fire. A man and a woman died in that shooting.

Within five minutes, Downey police received another call about a shooting, this time from a house approximately two blocks away. One woman was shot dead there and the 13-year old boy was wounded.

A spokeswoman for the family that owns the firefighting equipment business told KPCC that the dead included people who worked for the company. Milligan identified the three deceased as: Josimar Rojas, 26; Irene Cardenas, 35; and Susana Perez-Ruelas, 34.

The spokeswoman said the shooting affected several families and a legal representative would make a statement Friday afternoon.

Public records show the business, United States Fire Protection Services, is co-owned by Roberto and Antonio Salinas. Antonio Salinas also owns the home where the third victim was killed Wednesday.

Records indicate that he had fallen on hard financial times in the past couple of years. He defaulted on the mortgage on the Downey home and on one he owned in Chino. And in April he declared bankruptcy.

Additionally, a vehicle that the suspect stole and used as a getaway car has been recovered. Police have not released a motive, though they believe the family was targeted.