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Boy, 13, 'played dead' after gunman shot 5 in his family

October 28, 2012 |  7:51 am

A 13-year-old boy pretended to be dead after a gunman shot him and four other family members in Downey last week, according to a family friend.

The boy is now recovering from injuries sustained in the shooting spree, which killed three people.

"He played dead to live," a family spokeswoman, Martha Zerehi, said. The gunman "thought he killed everybody."

PHOTOS: Downey shooting rampage

Police have arrested Jade Douglas Harris, 30, on suspicion of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, according to the Downey police blotter. He is being held at Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles in lieu of $1-million bail.

Harris was formally booked Friday morning after being taken into custody and questioned the day before, authorities said. Police had previously said he matched the description of the gunman.

Police are still trying to determine a motive for the shootings.

Relatives of the family targeted by the gunman described the shooting as a violent car robbery.

At a news conference Friday, an attorney for the family called the killings senseless. "They have not been able to fully grieve for the loss of life," Arshak Bartoumian said. "As you can understand, they are in shock."

Zerehi said the gunman responded to an Internet ad for a Camaro.

He arrived at the family's business, United States Fire Protection Services, on Cleta Street in Downey about 11 a.m. Wednesday. He was allowed to enter through the front door, which is usually kept locked, relatives said.

The man drew a handgun and demanded the car, Zerehi said. He forced a male worker to tie up the two women, one of whom was the mother of the firm's owners, Robert and Antonio Salinas. The gunman was told that the car was not at the business but down the street at the family home.

At some point, Susana Perez, another family member, walked in with her 13-year-old son, whom she had picked up early from school for a dental appointment.

The suspect shot and killed two employees, Josimar Rojas, 26, of Downey and Irene Cardenas, 35, of Cudahy.

Maria Fuentes, 52, a member of the Salinas family, was shot in the face and hand and remains hospitalized in serious condition, Bartoumian said.

Perez and her son then were ordered to drive the gunman to the home. Once there, Zerehi said, the suspect held a gun to the boy's head and threatened to kill him.

"Do you know how easy it is to kill you right now?" the gunman asked, according to Zerehi. Perez tried to push the gun away to save her son, but was shot and killed, she said.

Before fleeing in the Camaro, the suspect turned and shot the boy, who pretended he was dead or unconscious, Zerehi said.


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