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UPDATE: Downey police make arrest in triple murder at family business, home

Erika Aguilar/KPCC

The scene in Downey where shootings took place on Cleta Street, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012.

Sharon McNary/KPCC

A note at the site of the Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012 Downey shooting. "Descansa en Paz Compa Joe" for Josimar Rojas.


The Downey police have arrested a man in connection with Wednesday’s triple murders in Downey. They did not identify the man, who is at L.A. County Jail pending arraignment. The police say they are still trying to determine a motive.

Friday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the owners of the company where the shooting began, United States Fire Protection Services, offered a possible motive.

Two brothers — Antonio and Roberto Salinas — own the firefighting equipment company where the violence started.

Spokeswoman Martha Zerehi said the family wanted to sell Antonio’s 2-year-old Camaro. A family friend, Josimar Rojas, placed an ad on Craigslist. Only one buyer was willing to pay full price, and he offered cash.

Zerehi said the man showed up at the Salinas brothers’ business and shot and killed Rojas and a secretary, Irene Cardenas. He also shot and wounded the Salinas brothers’ mother.

She said the man then forced Antonio Salinas’s wife, Susana Perez, and their 13-year-old son to drive him to their home two blocks away, where the Camaro was. Zerehi said the gunman proceeded to shoot both of them, killing Salinas’s wife. He then took the Camaro.

The boy and his grandmother, Maria Teresa Salinas, are being treated for their wounds in a local hospital.

Relatives of the victims declined to speak to the press. The Salinas family attorney Arshak Bartoumian denounced rumors that the shooting was tied to the drug trade and said the family’s recent money problems had nothing to do with the shootings.

Meanwhile, two dozen candles burned in front of the business in honor of the dead and wounded, and a note taped near the door was addressed to Josimar. “Descansa en paz" — rest in piece — "Compa Joe. To a great friend, and even better father. You will forever be missed. Condolences to all the family's [sic] affected.” (You can see the note in the slideshow above.)

Dean Wright, who owns a septic supplies company next door to the family business, spoke about 35-year-old secretary Cardenas.

"She was just a secretary, she had no connection with the family other than that," said Dean Wright, who owns a septic supplies company next door. "She has a wonderful sweetheart, she has three children — it’s just sickening to think of that."

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