Two people were killed in a series of drive-by shootings Tuesday morning at separate locations in Los Angeles, including a Starbucks drive-thru, that led to a police chase and deadly freeway standoff in Orange County.
The five shootings in Exposition Park and downtown Los Angeles and an ensuing pursuit led to an hours-long morning standoff nearly 30 miles away on the 91 Freeway between Fullerton and Anaheim that ended with gunfire. The suspect was killed during the shootout with officers after he opened fire through the front windshield of the Jeep, police said.
His identity was not immediately released.
The LAPD said the shootings happened within minutes of each other. Authorities believe the suspected gunman, described only as a man in his 40s and 50s, is connected to all five shootings.
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"These appear to be random acts of violence... we have no idea what precipitated this,'' said Lt. Raul Jovel said at a news conference near where the pursuit ended. "We'll be going back to the suspect's home, talking to family members, trying to figure out what led to these acts of violence.''
The violence began in the early hours of Tuesday with the first shooting in the Exposition Park area.
12:50 a.m., Figueroa Street and Exposition Boulevard: LAPD officers were flagged down by a CHP officer who directed them to a victim. The man had been shot in the head by another driver who pulled alongside and opened fire. A dashboard camera in the victim’s car captured killer’s license plate, which helped police immediately circulate a description and plate of the suspect’s vehicle.
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1:05 a.m., Figueroa and 28th streets: A few blocks away, a second shooting was reported. A man waiting in line at a Starbucks drive-thru was shot by the shooter for unknown reasons and died at the scene. Security camera video shows the Jeep SUV behind the victim's blue Ford Mustang in the drive-thru line. The Jeep rear-ended the Mustang before the fatal confrontation. It was not immediately clear what led to the altercation.
The Los Angeles County Coroner identified the victim as 24-year-old Alexis Carbajal.
1:25 a.m., Figueroa and 7th streets: The third shooting occurred in the area of Figueroa and 7th streets in downtown LA, where a person in an Cadillac Escalade died at the scene, according to police. The shooter pulled alongside the SUV and fired several rounds into the vehicle, police said. A security guard witnesses the slaying and called police.
The victim was identified by the coroner's office as 42-year-old Mingzhi Zhu, of South Pasadena. Uber confirmed Zhu was a driver for the company.
“The senseless acts of violence that took the lives of two innocent people, including Mr. Mingzhi Zhu who was on his way to pick up a rider, is heartbreaking," Uber said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with those who lost their lives and their families"
1:25 a.m., Figueroa and 7th streets: Minutes later, a person driving home from work was fired upon by a driver in a Jeep as the two vehicles were stopped on the Maple Street exit ramp from the 10 Freeway. The victim was not injured.
A fifth shooting was reported after LAPD Transit Division officers saw the suspect’s Jeep and pursued the SUV. Its driver opened fire at the driver of a white Tesla. The driver was not injured.
The identities of the victims have not been released.
Police shut down all traffic lanes between State College Boulevard and Raymond Avenue during the early morning standoff on the 91 Freeway. Officers in two armored vehicles blocked the white Jeep SUV from moving around 4 a.m. and put the suspect in contact with a family member during the standoff.
No officers were injured. Police recovered a weapon at the scene, according to LAPD.
The 91 Freeway reopened later Tuesday morning.