A man suspected in a violent series of crimes in the San Fernando Valley that left four people dead, including his father and brother, has been taken into custody, police said Thursday.
Gerry Zaragoza, 26, is believed to have fatally shot his relatives in a Canoga Park apartment early Thursday, before allegedly fatally shooting a woman at a gas station and attempting to rob a man outside a bank. The suspect's mother and an unidentified man were injured in those shootings.
Before being taken into custody, Zaragoza also allegedly shot a stranger to death on an Orange Line bus in Van Nuys, Los Angeles Police Department officials said.
Zaragoza eluded authorities for hours, prompting a San Fernando Valley-wide tactical alert that doubled the police response in the area, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The suspect was finally taken into custody about12 hours after the rampage began in the Canoga Park area, police said.
The series of crimes started about 2 a.m. at the Roscoe Boulevard Apartments in the 21900 block of Roscoe Boulevard.
Officers responded to the location near Topanga Canyon Boulevard after receiving a shots fired call.
A woman suffering from a gunshot wound to her arm contacted officers as they arrived outside the building.
Officers found the suspect's father and brother dead inside the building, police said. The wounded woman was determined to be Zaragoza's mother.
The woman was transported to a local hospital with injuries that were not considered to be life threatening.
The gunman fled the scene following the shooting. He had been driving a Jeep, which was found abandoned sometime during the day, a police source told KTLA.
Relatives and coworkers identified the older victim found in the home as Carlos Zaragoza, 56. He worked as a carpet cleaner and was described as a "good" and "funny" man by his coworkers. The other victim, Zaragoza's brother, who has not been formally identified, was 33 years old, police said.
A GoFundMe page was started to help the Zaragoza family.
While authorities were looking for Zaragoza, another shooting was reported at a Shell gas station in North Hollywood about 2:45 a.m.
A man and woman were found with gunshot wounds and transported to an area hospital, where the woman was pronounced dead, police said.
The man was listed in critical condition.
Capt. William Hayes said Zaragoza knew both victims and described the woman as having a previous relationship or being acquainted with the suspect. Authorities tied him to that crime.
Several hours later, around 7:20 a.m., police received an attempted robbery call at the Bank of America on Sherman Way and Topanga Canyon Boulevard, LAPD Officer Chavez said.
Investigators said Zaragoza is the person suspected in the robbery attempt. He was apparently trying to rob a man outside the bank but did not get away with anything.
The victim was not injured in the incident.
About 12:50 p.m., Zaragoza allegedly boarded an Orange Line bus in the area of Woodley Avenue and Victory Boulevard and fatally shot a person inside. He eventually left the area, Hayes said.
The victim in that shooting has not been identified, but it does not appear that he or she knew the suspect.
About an hour later, plain-clothed officers surveilling the area near Canoga Avenue and Gault Street spotted Zaragoza and took him into custody, Hayes said. Police used a Taser to subdue the suspect, the Times reported.
Though Zaragoza was armed with a gun at the time, it is unclear if the weapon was used during any of the earlier attacks, Hayes said.
The suspect appeared to be injured during the arrest and he was taken from the scene in an ambulance, aerial video from Sky5 showed.
Hayes said LAPD's primary focus was to get the suspect in the crimes, which he called a "violent spree," into custody. He added that investigators are working on talking to witnesses and family to piece details together.
Authorities have not released a possible motive for the shootings. Hayes said it appeared the suspect was having "problems" with his family earlier, without elaborating.