O.C. Killer a Loner, Obsessive Video Gamer

Ali Syed was a 20-year-old loner who took occasional computer classes at a community college and spent a lot of time alone in his room playing video games, said an Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesman.

How he crossed paths with 20-year-old Courtney Aoki remains a mystery.

OC Shooting Spree Suspect 2Early Tuesday morning, Aoki was in Syed’s bedroom, inside the town house he shared with his parents in the upscale Ladera Ranch development.

Gunshots rang out from the bedroom, and Syed ran out of the house and drove away, police said.

Aoki was dead from multiple wounds from a shotgun Syed’s father had bought him about a year ago.

So began a rampage through Orange County in which Syed killed three people and injured three others before taking his own life, police said.

Authorities on Wednesday released 911 tapes in which Syed’s frantic parents reported the shooting.

But officials said they were no closer to knowing a motive for the shooting rampage.

“There’s still a lot of work to do in this case,” sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino said.

Syed left “no evidence, no note, no nothing that would explain this very bizarre, violent behavior.”

Authorities said they didn’t know how Aoki got to the Ladera Ranch home. She was dressed when she was found, and there was no evidence of sexual assault.

Syed’s mother called 911 at 4:45 a.m. Tuesday.

“I think somebody’s shot … in my house,” she said. “Somebody’s shot. I think there’s somebody shot.”

Hysterical, the woman tried to answer the dispatcher’s questions. Her husband eventually took over the phone.

“Can you please send somebody here?” he said. “Our son lives with us and I think they got into a fight or something and we heard a gunshot.”

The parents told the 911 operator that they were sleeping when they heard what they thought was a gunshot downstairs.

They did not enter their son’s room, they told a dispatcher, but said he had left the home in their SUV.

“He’s gone out,” the father said. “He took the car we have…. Yes, he’s not home right now. He drove away.”

They told the dispatcher they did not see a victim.

“I have not gone in his room,” the father said in answer to a dispatcher’s questions. “I don’t know what’s going on.”

Detectives had difficulty identifying Aoki, Amormino said, because she had no identification and no vehicle at the Ladera Ranch residence.

No missing person reports had been filed on her.

Amormino said Aoki was identified Wednesday morning from a second set of fingerprints, but authorities were unable to find her mother until about 2:30 p.m.

Although Aoki’s mother also lives in Orange County, Aoki did not live with her, Amormino said.

Unemployed and enrolled in one course at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Syed had “most of the day and evening” to play games, Amormino said. “Most of his free time was playing games.”

Investigators are still searching Syed’s computer for more information, including which games he favored.

Syed had been enrolled at Saddleback since the fall semester of 2010, and had earned about 30 credits, said Jennie McCue, a college spokeswoman.

Syed took mostly general education courses that would be needed to transfer to a four-year university.

He was enrolled in a computer maintenance and repair class, McCue said.

Syed graduated in 2010 from Junipero Serra Continuation High School in San Juan Capistrano, where “students who have faced many personal and academic obstacles discover their own resiliency by making good personal choices,” according to the school’s website.

After allegedly killing Aoki, Syed headed north on the 5 Freeway.

Syed left the 5 Freeway in Tustin. Authorities said he wounded one man and then approached another man pumping gas at the adjacent Mobil station and politely asked him for the keys to his pickup.

“I just killed someone,” he told the man, adding that he didn’t want to hurt him, according to police. “This is my last day.”

From there, Syed headed north on the 5 Freeway, exiting onto the southbound 55 where he pulled over and began firing at passing vehicles, police said.

Three were hit and one driver was injured by flying glass.

Syed jumped back in the pickup and left the freeway at Edinger Avenue in Santa Ana, where he collided with another vehicle and crashed into a lane divider.

He abandoned the truck and accosted the driver of a BMW that was stopped nearby.

The driver, Melvin L. Edwards, was headed to work at his family manufacturing business when Syed ordered him from his car and walked him to the curb. Edwards complied yet Syed pumped three rounds into him, killing him.

Syed then drove Edwards’ BMW a half-mile to a Micro Center electronics store in Tustin, where plumber Jeremy Lewis, 26, of Fullerton, had pulled into the parking lot to begin his workday at a nearby hotel construction site.

A co-worker saw Lewis being chased by an armed Syed and drove to the site to help.

Syed killed Lewis, wounded his colleague and sped away in Lewis’ work truck.

Syed then got on the northbound 55 Freeway, where California Highway Patrol deputies spotted him shortly before 6 a.m.

They followed Syed as he exited at Katella Avenue in Villa Park. After driving a few blocks, Syed jumped from the slow-moving vehicle and shot himself in the head.

-Los Angeles Times

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17 comments

      • clicker

        It's a joke, moron. You are obviously too stupid to see that. It is especially clear since you don't understand the spelling of "you're." What a t@rd.

    • Slop

      Show me one 20 year old in the Western World that doesn't play video games. They ALL do. It's like saying he drank water and blaming his shooting spree on that. The dude was messed up, end of story. He was an emotionally stunted loaner who couldn't make friend. He had no community of peers and mentally unhinged and unstable. Just like every other mass-shooter out there. People blaming games for violence are the same who blamed Rock & Roll for delinquency back in the '50. They're scared of what they don't understand.

    • Deelite

      I'm sure his father will regret til his dying day the fact that he bought his boy a gun. Sadly, I knew a guy that bought his son a rifle for him to learn to be a man because he was too wimpy. Three years later the boys brains were all over his parents bathroom wall. The father died soon after from a heart attack. He was never the same.

  • guest

    tired of he media trying to blame videogames again. could it be peple are just mean,nasty jerks!! these mental losers want to die nd take every one else with them! if you want to blame something for creating violence…start wth the bible. thats been responsible for more deaths and wars than anything.

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  • Deelite

    What was up with the parents and letting their adult son spend all day gaming? That young man should have been out working and/or taking a full load of courses. I'm sure that his parents were of the ilk that 'as long as he's home and not in a gang or doing drugs I don't care if he's in his room playing video games all day' (I've met them). Talk about enablers. Plus, the dad bought him the gun.

  • Anonymous

    Somebody on here said the day this happened that people better not blame this on video games. Really? What you got to say about that now idiot? Of course violent video games esp. when played by loners, mentally unstable pathetic losers of society turn already screwed up people into killers! You're an idiot if you think playing these games all hours of the day and having no life is not going to affect you or make you fantasize about your own personal video game in life! So no surprise here that this POS wa a loner who played video games all day locked in his room. Again, the parents SUCK. Just like Adam Lanza's mom allowing her screwed up kid to play violent games all day AND buying him guns AND taking him to the shooting range, these parents were just as IRRESPONSIBLE and have blood on their hands! Why the hell would you buy your screwed up loser son a rifle? IDIOTS! Why would you just allow him to be in his room all day AT AGE 20 with no job and only taking ONE class and doing nothing but playing video games all day? AND HOW WOULD YOU NOT KNOW HE BROUGHT A STRIPPER HOME? DID YOU EVER TAKE YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE SAND WHILE HE LIVED WITH YOU? Parents needs to start being parents and take some responsibility! The 911 call has them saying they didn't go in the room, they assume there is a victim but don't know what's going on. What cowards! That girl MAYBE could have used some aid, though probably not, but to not even go in the room to check on a victim that you know your son shot before driving your car away? That shows what kind of parents you were. Totally uninvolved, comatose, irresponsible parents who let your POS son do what he wanted and kept your head in the sand, besides buying him weapons! Why don't you just put the bullets in the chamber and put his finger on the trigger next time since you pretty much did just that! He is a POS who is burning in hell where he belongs for killing innocent people so he is solely responsible for his actions, but the parents also have blood on their hands in my opinion! That poor driver in the BMW lived 69 years and sounded like an awesome man, and he's gone for no reason other than your POS son that you bought a gun for! That young man who was just trying to work to survive was being chased by this maniac but you thought he was mentally stable enough to own a rifle that you bought him?! He prob brought the woman home with the intention to murder her after hitting on her either because she is a stripper and it was the only action this loser thought he could get, or because he is a psycho Muslim who felt she deserved to die for being a stripper. Whatever! YOUR SON IS AN EVIL PIECE OF SHIT AND I HOPE HE IS ROTTING AND BURNING IN HELL WHERE HE BELONGS!


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