LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A gunman opened fire at a small business and a nearby home owned by members of the same family in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey on Wednesday, killing three people and wounding two others before fleeing in a stolen car, authorities said.
It was unclear what motivated the gunman to commit the back-to-back shootings, which erupted shortly after 11 a.m. local time about two blocks apart in a blue-collar neighborhood near a Coca-Cola bottling plant, Downey police Lieutenant Dean Milligan said.
But the fact that all five victims were believed to be relatives led investigators to suspect that they may have been singled out by the perpetrator, he said.
“We don’t believe it’s a random act because it’s two locations that are tied together, but we can’t confirm that at this time,” Milligan told Reuters.
He said police have not identified the suspect and were told by survivors that they did not recognize their assailant, who remained at large in Downey, a small city southeast of Los Angeles where the late singer Karen Carpenter once lived.
The gunman approached the two scenes on foot and made his getaway in a car belonging to a member of the victims’ family, police said.
Details of the shootings were murky, but according to authorities’ initial account, the gunman first opened fire at a storefront business called the United States Fire Protection Company, killing a man and woman and wounding a third person.
The suspect then moved on to the house two blocks away, where he killed a woman and wounded a male occupant, police said. Their ages were not given.
The two wounded victims were listed in critical but stable condition, Milligan said.
Additional reporting; by Alex Dobuzinskis; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Stacey Joyce