First Victim of O.C. Gunman Identified by Police

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VILLA PARK, Calif. — Investigators have released the name of the first of three victims shot and killed by a gunman in Orange County Tuesday morning.

20-year-old Courtney Aoki of Buena Park was the first victim of the shooting rampage. Her relationship with the shooter is still unknown.

courtneyaoki692Police say 20-year-old Ali Syed, a college student, committed the three murders and wounded three others before taking his own life in 75 minutes of terror.

Detectives say he began his rampage in Ladera Ranch, where he murdered Aoki inside his parents’ home.

Syed then drove to Tustin, Santa Ana and back to Tustin, carjacking three vehicles, killing two more victims and shooting at morning commuters on the 55 Freeway.

Then, with the California Highway Patrol in pursuit, Syed pulled off in Villa Park, aimed the shotgun at his own head, and pulled the trigger.

Authorities were stunned by what they described as the “senseless violence.” Syed had no criminal record and left few clues as to a possible motive, police said.

Police discovered Aoki around 4:45 a.m. Tuesday at a condo on Red Leaf Lane in Ladera Ranch.

Syed, who was unemployed and enrolled in a class at Saddleback College, lived there with his parents. It was his parents who called 911, according to police.

“I heard three to five pops, and they could have been bangs, I didn’t know what they were,” said neighbor Scott Glass. “I didn’t think anything of it.”

That would change after responding Orange County sheriff’s deputies found Aoki, who had been shot multiple times.

Meanwhile, Syed had taken off in the family’s black GMC Yukon, armed with at least one shotgun, authorities said. Possibly in his haste to flee, police said, he damaged the vehicle.

He exited Interstate 5 at Red Hill Avenue in Tustin about 5 a.m. and pulled into a Denny’s parking lot.

There, a man was sitting in an older-model blue Cadillac, waiting for his son to carpool to work.

According to police, Syed pointed his weapon at the man and ordered him out of the car.

Instead, the man sped away and Syed opened fire, shattering the rear window of the Cadillac and striking the man in the back of the head. The man was later treated at a hospital.

The gunman kept going to a nearby Mobil station, authorities said, where he spotted a man pumping gas.

“When they made eye contact, Syed started running toward the victim,” said Tustin Police Chief Scott Jordan.

“He said to him, ‘I don’t want to hurt you. I just killed someone. Give me your keys. This is my last day,'” according to Jordan.

Syed took the man’s Dodge pickup and headed north on Interstate 5, authorities said.

After merging onto the southbound 55 Freeway, he stopped on the shoulder, got out of the truck and opened fire on passing motorists.

He hit at least three cars, and one driver was injured by flying glass, according to police.

Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said the gunman may have realized that the pickup was low on fuel and was trying to steal a second vehicle.

He ultimately returned to the stolen pickup and got off the freeway at Edinger Avenue in Santa Ana.

He hit another vehicle, slammed into a divider and abandoned the truck, authorities said. Then he approached a BMW that was stopped nearby, with his gun drawn.

Melvin L. Edwards, 69, of Laguna Hills, was on his way to work at Rubicon Gear, a small family business that manufactures high-precision gears and shafts.

Colleagues described the former U.S. Army combat infantry officer who served in Vietnam as easygoing, hardworking and generous with his employees.

Syed ordered Edwards out of the BMW and directed him to the curb, authorities said. He cooperated, but the gunman killed Edwards anyways.

“Walked him across the road and executed him… Shot him three times,” Jordan said.

The gunman then sped away in the BMW to a Micro Center computer store in Tustin.

Soon thereafter, workers at a nearby Fairfield Inn construction site heard gunfire.

A plumbing supervisor apparently spotted one of his co-workers being chased through an overflow parking lot and drove over to help him.

The co-worker, Jeremy Lewis, 26, of Fullerton, had just arrived for his 6 a.m. shift when, authorities said, Syed shot and killed him.

The supervisor who had gone to his aid was shot in the arm, police said. He was taken to the hospital to be treated for his wounds.

“It’s just heart-wrenching to look across the street and see what I see now. It’s bad. It’s really bad,” said a man who worked with the victims.

He said the victims were “just two good honest guys. They were just trying to make a living. Things happen so quick. One minute we’re sitting on the tailgate, the next minute tragedy happens.”

From there, Syed took off in one of the construction site’s work trucks.

California Highway Patrol officers spotted him on the northbound 55 Freeway shortly before 6 a.m.

He exited the freeway at Katella Avenue and got out of the vehicle while it was still in motion near East Katella and North Wanda Road, according to authorities.

That’s when Syed raised a shotgun to his head and fired, killing himself.

Back at the suspected killer’s home, at least one neighbor said that he wasn’t surprised by what had happened.

“He was just one of those people, you know, that looked like trouble,” neighbor Josh Hubner said. “Like when you saw him you should stay away from him.”

-KTLA/Los Angeles Times

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    • ladyhawk

      I think cops are being blamed for what they do wrong. You should be in class right now because you are talking nonsense. I think you have the subjects mixed up

    • ladyhawk

      I been in California all my life so you do not know what you are talking about. We normally do not have mass shootings other states hold that record

      • HarrysS

        Morons both. I was born and raised in california AND still live here. This state has a disgusting violent crime rate. haha… and also… check out the small community of Goleta California, which is in my county of Santa Barbara, not so long ago a disgruntled postal worker (female) smoked 8 people with a handgun. Does that fit your definition of "mass shooting" if so California is rampant with this type of thing… look it up idiot. And that was just ONE example that i found RIGHT OUTSIDE MY DOOR.

  • TheSwabbie

    You IDIOTS who are clammoring for more "gun control" are just that.. IDIOTS. It does NOT work. It did NOT work in the UK, which is now the most DANGEROUS country in Europe.. the Crime rate in Australia is through the roof.. murders UP.. Rapes UP.. Assaults UP.. ALL crimes up. Why? Because these clowns put in place draconian gun control measures.. even CONFISCATIONS.

    YET.. GUN DEATHS in the UK are on the RISE! Up 35% since last year.. Now.. MORONS.. tell me AGAIN how a f'king "L A W" is going to STOP a criminal.. it is NOT.. Dont DELUDE yourself..

  • PJ C

    In late breaking nes:
    A neanderthal goes beserk and uses recently discovered wheel to bludgeon to death his cavemate. Cries are already pouring in to outlaw possession of the wheel. Others are calling for calm, arguing that we haven't explored all the possible benifits that might come from wheel ownership. The big kahuna claims that if we can save one life through banning of these round stone implements then it would be worth it.

  • Merphis Ellis

    I would ask a raciest question but that would get deleted??? But I have to wonder is this more a black on black shootings, is this because of moral decal? Just asking.

  • JeboVamPasMater

    Haven't seen any coverage on the big cable TV networks. I am sure there is plenty here to politicize and exploit for ratings.


  • Missingdata

    If Timothy McVey had a gun he couldn't have killed as many people as he did. This has nothing to do with access to guns. It has to do with the mentality of the person committing the crime.
    Smoking causes 500,000 deaths a year. Auto accidents cause 20,000+ deaths a year.
    Anger kills. Guns can't shoot themselves.
    We don't enforce all the gun laws we have like we don't enforce all the immigration laws we have on the books.

  • Allen

    If even one ot the VICTIMS had been armed, maybe they would have had a chance. Why is the only answer for libtards to take away the guns from the honest citizens? What would taking a gun from me do to help this situation? Maybe you idiot should see were this murdering scum got the gun from before you call for more control. If he would have happened upon a concealled carry holder (in O.C Ha ha) maybe he would have been terminated before more innocents could be murdered. Less than 1/10 of 1% of Concealed Carry holders committ crimes. Maybe easier to get a concealled carry would be the answer!

  • understanding

    I live about 3 blocks away from that shell in Tustin. I would have to say that after reading this I truly feel sorry for people who are so ignorant and full of judgment. It's not the guns killing people it's these people that have no business owning them. I for one would not have had to worry about it because I carry a 9mm and it is reasons like this that I do. Gang bangers are not the only people that kill look at all the "normal People " that snap, hell look at Chris Dorner a LA police officer. I think it's time to start looking at other states cause this one is going to hell pretty quick.

    • ladyhawk

      yes, yes yes and I too have a gun I all ways had one my husband had rifles but i do not go around murdering people with it or hurting them or making judgements when a person says how they feel about their loved one being murdered by a gun

  • Christie

    This is so very sad. :( I lived in Tustin when I was a newly married and it was a lovely place with Avocado trees and orange groves. I never felt unsafe.
    That was in the 1970's.
    I guess things have changed. :(

  • zeugie

    The media is going to report EVERY shooting that is not gang or drug related in attempt to get the public to buy into the LIE that guns murder. We do not have a "gun violence" problem. We have a violence problem, be it using guns, knives, words, hammers, scissors, rocks or bare hands.

    The agenda is to take the guns away from the law-abiding people so that the wealthy monarchs can rule once again. Say goodbye to your $25/hr jobs, your house, your new car, your vacations, your healthcare, everything that makes our lives reasonably comfortable.

    Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  • JesusLovesYou

    People need Jesus Christ, period. As someone said earlier, it's a sign of the times. Jesus is coming back sooner than you think. Are you ready for His coming?

    Please look up these verses:
    Matthew 24:6-7
    Mark 13:32
    John 3:16

    Pray for the friends and families of these victims!

    And to you reading this, I am praying for you also. If you do not know Jesus Christ, I pray that you come to know Him, and accept Him as your Lord and Savior! He loved you so much that He died on the cross to be the ultimate sacrifice for you, the final atonement for our sins. He did that for you so that you could have eternal life, and not be condemned for all eternity! The only way to have eternal life, is to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and to live for Him! Yes, it's a struggle, especially in this corrupt, sinful world; but, with Him all things are possible.

    Remember…JESUS LOVES YOU! :)

  • Peewee

    Wow you can't have gun control, as some idiot said lets go back to the wild west…sorry I thought the US had never stopped being the wild west…time for a country to grow up and put their deadly toys away.

    Still I do wonder how all of us in the UK and the rest of us in Europe manage without guns when we see what a fun time you always seem to be having in America.

    Bang bang your dead…oh no! I stopped all that at about 11 y/o and then grew up, you guys ought to try it someday.

    • zeugie

      Mind your own d*mn business. BTW, what is your murder rate over there? And what happens when you kill your attacker while defending yourself?

      • pete

        I thought it might be everybodies business when idiots like you advocate violence,..what's that stuff about America and freedom of speech by the way, or is that only for rednecks!!
        Your ignorance is astounding if you think the murder rate in the UK is anything like the murder rate in the US and that allows for the difference in the population size,
        Also if you have no option other than to kill someone whilst defending your self and your life is at risk then nothing will happen.

        So as I said before you and your gun toting buddies ought to open your minds before you open your mouths and get your facts straight…it's called research, although I should not think a good story would ever get in the way of truth with you.

  • Rufus McDufus

    C'mon guys, this was six hours ago! I want updates, bios, fancy graphics and actor-portrayed re-enactments. If I don't get them here I'll just switch over to Fox, where I know I'll get them.

  • Mother Effer

    People don't kill out of anger usually, they kill out of fear. This guy was obviously in flight and taking out anyone in his way. Escalating the fear until he found no way out, but to kill himself, as so many do.
    People need to understand their instincts these days, and be in touch with their feelings and to learn how to deal with them. It's more than mental health, it's social well-being, the collective psychology of all of us living together. We need for parents to parent better, to be in touch with our families, not just little children, but as adult family members too.

    • ladyhawk

      really people do not kill out of anger. Where have u been it is anger and yes fear. well all of us living together is far away as you can see .

  • GasMan

    "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."
    — Thomas Jefferson

    • zeugie

      I'll say it again:

      The agenda is to take the guns away from the law-abiding people so that the wealthy monarchs can rule once again. Say goodbye to your $25/hr jobs, your house, your new car, your vacations, your healthcare, everything that makes our lives reasonably comfortable.

      Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    • ladyhawk

      but it is the innocent people that are being murdered and he was talking about military purposes like when the south thought it was a Country and had a government of their own.