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Man Wounded, Held in Double Slaying

Times Staff Writer

A man suspected of shooting to death two bystanders, wounding another and kidnaping a couple during a drug-related incident in the San Fernando Valley was later wounded by police gunfire and captured, authorities said Monday.

A woman was also arrested in the incident, but a second man, believed to be an accomplice, remained at large, police said.

The double slaying in an alley behind a Sepulveda apartment complex was apparently a random attack by two men who were angry over a drug deal gone bad, Los Angeles Police Lt. William Hall said.

Identities of the two dead men were withheld pending notification of relatives.

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The wounded man, Timothy Brown, 24, was being treated at Northridge Hospital Medical Center, where officials declined to comment on his condition.

The alleged gunman, Edward T. Furnance, 23, shot once in the leg by police, was booked on suspicion of murder in the jail ward at County-USC Medical Center, where he was in stable condition, police said.

Sophina Newsome, 27, of Van Nuys, who is believed to have been involved in the drug deal, was also arrested and booked on suspicion of murder, police said.

According to Hall, Furnance and his male accomplice, who were armed with semiautomatic rifles, went to a Sepulveda apartment complex late Sunday night apparently “to seek retaliation” against a resident who apparently had argued with Newsome over a drug transaction.

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“The dope deal had gone sour. There was a dispute and maybe a rip-off,” Hall said, describing the deal as “a small-time narcotics transaction.”

On their way into the building, the two gunmen, who had donned ski masks, grabbed a 22-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman who were engaged in a conversation outside an apartment. At gunpoint, they ordered the couple to accompany them inside.

“We don’t know if they kidnaped them for cover or as hostages,” Hall said.

The gunmen kicked down the apartment door but found the place vacant, police said.

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As they entered an alley behind the apartment complex on Langdon Avenue, the gunmen opened fire on four men they confronted there, killing two and wounding Brown. The fourth bystander escaped by scrambling beneath a car.

“There is no motive in that shooting,” Hall said, adding that the gunmen did not argue with the bystanders and may have opened fire “out of frustration.”

After firing at the group, the gunmen released the couple unharmed and fled, police said.

Police investigators determined early Monday morning that the gunmen had invaded the wrong apartment. The man who was the gunmen’s alleged “target” told police that Furnance may have been involved in the drug deal with Newsome, who lived 3 miles away in a Van Nuys apartment, Hall said.

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Police did not release the identity of the man who had apparently been targeted for revenge. He was not arrested but was being questioned by detectives.

Officers went to Newsome’s apartment on Vanowen Street Monday morning, where she was arrested. Hall said Newsome was held because she is suspected of “setting up” the retaliatory shooting.

Two officers then hid in Newsome’s apartment. At about 9:45 a.m., Furnance entered the locked apartment with a key. Police said he was carrying the same kind of semiautomatic rifle used in the double shooting. When Furnance ignored an officer’s order to drop the gun, he was shot.

Police, believing the second gunman was also in the apartment complex, ordered the evacuation of about 60 residents. But officers using police dogs to search the complex found no one else. Residents were allowed back into their apartments at 1:30 p.m.

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Times staff writer David Colker contributed to this article.


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