Detectives and a CSI team were investigating the scene inside a garage in Montclair on Monday where two men whose mouths and wrists were bound by duct tape were found shot dead the night before.
Witnesses told police that a third person with bound wrists had fled with a deep wound in the neck.
"These guys were obviously targeted, but we're not sure what it's about," said Montclair Police Sgt. Bryon Kelly.
Monday morning, two women parked nearby, hoping for news about a loved one. Yalile Padilla stepped out of a Toyota 4Runner, tears filling her eyes, as her sister-in-law sat in the driver's seat with her cellphone pressed against her ear. Padilla said she believed her brother might be one of the two men found slain Sunday night.
The woman on the phone was the wife of her brother, whom she identified as Mario Padilla.
"I'm looking for my brother," Padilla said, choking on her words. "I think he was inside. He works here. He's a mechanic in the back."
The killings happened in a garage in the back of a home in the 11000 block of Monte Vista Avenue, said Montclair Police Lt. Brian Ventura. A report of shots fired was made to police at 6:45 p.m. On Monday morning, yellow police tape cordoned off a long driveway leading to the garage.
Police said the two dead men in the building were in their 30s, and that it appeared they had been shot multiple times. Kelly said a third man was able to escape with his hands bound by duct tape behind his back. A bloodhound from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, which also deployed its CSI team, was used to search the neighborhood.
At least two suspects drove away in a dark colored car, Kelly said. The motive for the killings was unknown and authorities have not identified the two victims.
Yalile Padilla said her brother worked in the garage, which he used as an auto shop for the last year. She said she and her sister-in-law, Liliana Gomez, have not heard from her brother since Sunday. She said they tried to reach him on his cellphone repeatedly.
Her brother always answers calls, Padilla said.
She said her brother has three children, ages 2, 10 and 13 years old.
Timothy Brooks, 19, who lives across the street from the scene of the killings with his aunt, uncle and cousins said a lot of people came in and out of the driveway leading to the garage. But he said no one there ever caused trouble.
"You move to places like this to avoid things like that," Brooks said as he stood in a neighborhood of mostly well-manicured lawns. "It's wild. I thought this was a peaceful neighborhood."
Tykisha Phillips, a family friend who also lives with Brooks, said she stayed up all night after hearing about the deaths.
"I have three little ones," Phillips, 22, said. "I was very worried. It could have been our house. What if my kid was in the front yard and saw that?"
"They have families," Brooks added, referring to the victims. "It's crazy. Now they have to bury somebody. That's a lot to deal with."
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Montclair Police Department at (909) 621-4771.