O.C. shootings: Plumber was chased, gunned down, co-worker says
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One of the victims in Tuesday’s shootings and carjackings in Orange County was identified by co-workers as a plumber who was working at a hotel construction site in Tustin near the scene of one of the fatal confrontations. Another plumber at the site was shot and wounded as he apparently attempted to aid his co-worker.
Three people have been reported killed and at least two seriously injured in the morning’s violence, which apparently started in a residential compound in Ladera Ranch and ended in a center median in Orange where a man believed to have been the assailant got out of a vehicle and shot himself to death with a shotgun, authorities said.
Employees at the construction site in Tustin said a plumber working at the under-construction Fairfield Inn on Edinger Avenue near the 55 Freeway was chased and killed by the gunman.
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The man was shot at an overflow parking lot, across the street from the construction project, workers said. Workers said the victim was one of 70 to 80 people finishing off the hotel and a neighboring Marriott Residence Inn.
Tom Van Schindel, a project superintendent at the site, said he heard the gunfire but -- given the noise in the construction zone -- wasn’t initially certain what it was.
But he said another plumber later told police that he heard some noise and glanced through a third-story window at the Fairfield. That man spotted the victim running across the overflow parking lot.
Van Schindel said the second man told police that he scampered down from the third story, jumped in his white utility vehicle and sped across the street to come to the aid of his fellow plumber.
The would-be rescuer, Van Schindel said, was apparently shot once and wounded when he reached the overflow parking lot. The other plumber, he said he was told, was killed.
An employee with KBL Plumbing in Rancho Cucamonga, where the two men were said to be employed, said one of its workers was killed and one was injured Tuesday. There were no further details.
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The suspect’s alleged series of killings appeared to begin early Tuesday at a home in Ladera Ranch, where Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Jim Amormino said deputies found a woman shot to death about 4:45 a.m. Deputies were called to the house on Red Leaf Lane when someone inside reported a shooting, Amormino said. It was unclear whether anyone else was home at the time, but no other injuries were reported.
The suspect, initially described as a man in his 20s, fled the area in an SUV to Tustin, where “multiple incidents” occurred in the city and near the Santa Ana border, Amormino said.
“There’s a lot to sort out,” he told The Times.
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--Anh Do, reporting from Tustin