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Attorney for family slain in Downey decries 'senseless' killings

October 26, 2012 |  3:33 pm

An attorney for the family at the center of Wednesday's shooting rampage in Downey -- which left three dead and two injured -- decried the killings as senseless and insisted that drugs were not involved.

"They have not been able to fully grieve for the loss of life," attorney Arshak Bartoumian said at a news conference outside the family business Friday afternoon. "As you can understand, they are in shock."

Members of the Salinas family have told The Times that the shooting occurred Wednesday morning after a man came to the family business, United States Fire Protection Services, on Cleta Street, to buy a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro advertised on Craigslist.

The man then pulled a gun and demanded the keys to the car, the family said. When workers at the business could not produce the keys, the gunman shot and killed one worker Josimar Rojas, 26, of Downey and another woman, Irene Cardenas, 35, of Cudahy. A female member of the Salinas family was also shot and remains hospitalized in serious condition.

Family members say that Susana Perez-Ruelas, 34, then arrived at the business with her 13-year-old son and was forced to drive the gunman a couple of blocks away to the family home to retrieve the keys to the Camaro. Once there, the gunman shot and killed Perez-Ruelas and shot and wounded her 13-year-old son.

Authorities had said that the killings were not random and that the Salinas family seemed to have been targeted. One Downey city councilman told The Times that the shootings were a drug hit.

"The family is not involved in any illegal activity, which has been reported as one possible theory for these killings." Bartoumian said.  This theory "was placed into the public by various sources without any facts. The Salinas family is a hard-working family trying to live the American dream by running their business. Unfortunately, they were involved in the senseless killings of three people."

Bartoumian declined to answer questions from reporters.

Downey police announced Thursday night that they had detained a man matching the description of the gunman and that the Camaro has been located. Police officials have offered no further details.


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-- Richard Winton in Downey and Wesley Lowery in Los Angeles