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L.A. Now Live: Latest on O.C. shootings, young woman killed

February 21, 2013 |  8:27 am

Times staff writer Nicole Santa Cruz will join L.A. Now Live at 9 a.m. on Thursday to discuss the latest developments in the deadly shootings Wednesday in Orange County, including new information about the first victim, killed at the alleged gunman's home in Ladera Ranch.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department on Wednesday identified the victim as 20-year-old Courtney Aoki of Buena Park.

It remains unclear how suspected gunman Ali Syed, described by authorities as 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, crossed paths with Aoki.

PHOTOS: Shootings at multiple locations in O.C.

Early 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.

Friends and a former teacher described Aoki as bright and talented.

Stacie Montgomery, 19, said she went to Norwalk High School with Aoki and that last year the two got Friday-the-13th tattoos together at a shop in Fullerton.

MAP: Orange County shootings

Aoki got a tattoo of a black widow spider on her chest with the number 13 inside the body, Montgomery said, while she got a butterfly with the same number. Aoki was with her when she got her first tattoo -- of a heart, she said.

"She was sitting with me, talking and whatnot," Montgomery said.

Now, Montgomery said she is puzzled about the fate of her friend.

"I couldn't believe it," she said, adding that she had no idea why Aoki was at the Ladera Ranch residence.

"I have no idea," she said. "Honestly, I have no idea."