(Los Angeles) Two people were killed and three were injured in shootings that occurred at six 7-Eleven convenience stores in Southern California early Monday morning, authorities said. At least three of the four attacks would be linked to the same shooter.
The shootings appear to have taken place after pre-dawn robberies or attempted robberies at the four convenience stores on July 11 – the day national brand 7-Eleven celebrated its 95e birthday by handing out free Slurpee drinks.
“Our hearts go out to the victims and their loved ones,” 7-Eleven said in a statement. We are gathering information about this terrible tragedy and working with local law enforcement. »
At this time, investigators do not know what prompted the shootings in the towns of Riverside, Santa Ana, Brea and La Habra, or why the violence occurred on July 11.
“I think the only person who could answer that question would be the suspect,” said Constable Ryan Railsback, spokesman for the Riverside Police Department, where the first shooting took place, at around 1:50 a.m. . He said there was no way it was a coincidence that it happened on July 11 at a 7-Eleven.
According to Mr. Railsback, these cases seem strange, because criminals generally know that convenience store robberies rarely bring in large sums of money, especially during the night.
“If you go to a liquor store, 7-Eleven or fast food, you’re not going to make a lot of money out of it,” he said. It’s a bit strange that they do that. »
“Not an employee”
The Riverside shooting – where the victim was in critical condition – has yet to be officially linked to the others, Officer Railsback said, “although they all look very, very similar”.
In that incident, the shooter robbed the clerk and brandished a firearm, then turned the gun on a customer, and opened fire before fleeing, Railsback said. The police think the clerk handed over the money from the till.
There doesn’t appear to be any reason why the suspect shot the client. It looks like the clerk gave him everything he asked for.
Riverside Police Department spokesperson Ryan Railsback
Authorities said the second shooting occurred around 3:20 a.m., about 24 miles away, in Santa Ana.
“At this time, we do not believe he was an employee. We don’t really know yet what he was doing there in a parking lot, if he was a potential client or if he was just passing by, “said Sergeant Maria Lopez, spokesperson for the Santa Police Department. Ana.
Surveillance video shows the suspect dropping items — potentially the victim’s personal effects — as he fled, Ms.me Lopez.
A robbery, then a homicide
Sergeant Maria Lopez said investigators believe the Santa Ana murder suspect is the same person who then traveled approximately 20 kilometers to Brea, where a 7-Eleven employee was found dead from a wound by bullet around 4:18 a.m.
Officers responded to a report of a man with a gunshot wound and found the employee injured. He was later pronounced dead, Brea Police Captain Phil Rodriguez said.
It appears to be a robbery that turned into a homicide.
Brea Police Captain Phil Rodriguez
Surveillance photos, posted to social media by Brea police, show a masked man wearing a black tracksuit with a hood over his head. The sweater had white letters with green leaves on the front.
Police declined to say what, if anything, was stolen from Brea’s store or from the victim – only reiterating that the incident began as a robbery.
Less than an hour later, officers from nearby La Habra were dispatched to a reported theft from a 7-Eleven. They discovered two victims with gunshot wounds around 4:55 a.m., Sergeant Sumner Bohée said. The shooter had fled. “We are convinced that it is the same suspect,” assured Mr. Rodriguez.
Authorities have not disclosed the victims’ conditions.