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3 dead in Downey shootings: Witnesses describe bloody scene

October 24, 2012 |  2:27 pm

Business owners and local residents described a chaotic scene Wednesday in Downey, where five family members were shot, three fatally, and one witness talked about seeing a teenage boy bleeding in the street and screaming hysterically.

Police said the shootings occurred around 11 a.m. at a residence and a fire protection company on Cleta Street. Although details were sketchy, residents and businesses owners said a family that owned the company also lived on the street.

Grace Mendez, 33, said she was driving down the street just after 11 a.m. when she saw a teenage boy bleeding and screaming hysterically.

"He was screaming, 'Oh my God, oh my God!'" Mendez said. "And then I saw that he was shot in the shoulder blade and stomach."

As she approached, Mendez said she saw police trying to calm down the boy.

"He had gone into complete shock," she said.

Further down the street, she saw a woman sitting outside on a low cement wall, bleeding heavily from her head.

Phil Parker, who owns a copier business on the street, said he did not hear the shootings, but when he peeked outside after hearing police, he saw the same bloodied woman.

"It's pretty upsetting," he said, adding that at least one of the victims looked like a receptionist he knew from the business. More than a dozen small-business owners and contractors awaited word from police about whether they'd be able to access their offices.

Meanwhile, family members of some of the fire extinguisher company's employees began to show up, desperate for answers.

"My wife works in there!" yelled a man in a white T-shirt who approached the police tape around 1 p.m. "I need to know if she's OK!"

He pleaded with an officer, who directed him to a police command post a few blocks away. Brushing aside television cameras, he sprinted in the direction of the command post, in search of information.

A woman who works near the business said she heard a heard a helicopter and went outside, where she saw her friend who owns the business where gunfire broke out, United States Fire Protection.

He "was on his knees, crying. He told me his mom got shot in the head and the bullet came out," said the woman, who declined to give her name.

Then, "he was running home and he came back and said his mom had died," the woman said.

"She got shot in the business and family members got shot in the home because his wife and kids live there," she continued. "We are friends because I have seen him for years. They walk actually to their business everyday."

Authorities are trying to unravel events that led up to the shootings.

Lt. Dean Milligan said police received their first 911 call at 11:12 a.m. from a fire protection business. Five minutes later, they received a second call from a home about a block away. A man and woman were found dead at the business and a second woman was found dead at the home. Two others were also wounded in the shooting and are being treated at area hospitals.

Police said they are searching for a 30-year-old black male about 6 feet tall and 230 pounds. He is believed to be driving a carjacked 2010 black Chevy Camaro with the license plate 6LEA010 in which he fled.

The car belongs to one of the victims or a family member, Milligan said.


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