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Ballistics Tests Link Fatal Spate of Shootings

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A rash of shootings previously said to be unrelated, including one that killed a Long Beach woman and another that injured a woman in Cerritos, have been linked to the same handgun, police said Monday.

“Ballistics tests completed about one week ago confirm that the three shootings were related,” Seal Beach Police Det. Darrell Hardin said. “We have no suspects whatsoever,” he added.

The first shootings occurred in the early hours of Feb. 15, when shots entered two homes near Moody Street and Yorkshire Drive in Cypress. No one was injured, Hardin said.

About 20 minutes later, motorist Melody Spicer, 47, was shot in the back while traveling south on a transition road from the San Gabriel River Freeway to the Artesia Freeway in Cerritos. Spicer was able to pull over and use a call box to phone police.

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About 40 minutes later, Helena Joyce Dobiesz, 55, of Long Beach was mortally wounded on the 7th Street offramp from the northbound San Diego Freeway in Seal Beach. Police found Dobiesz with a gunshot wound to her head and rushed her to St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach. She died later that day.

Both women drove white cars, according to police reports.

Although police earlier said the shootings appeared to be unrelated, Hardin said authorities had suspected the shootings were linked but had to wait for ballistics reports to confirm their theory.

The bullet that hit Spicer lodged close to her spine, Hardin said, and it was several weeks before it could be removed for examination.

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Police have no motive for the shootings, Hardin said, but he believes a driver and a passenger were involved.

Those who live and work in the relatively quiet city of Seal Beach, where residents worry more about flooding than murder, were unnerved by the proximity of the events.

Dobiesz’s daughter, Cara Marquez, has called on the public to report any clues that might help find the shooter. “We want to see justice. We want this to be solved,” Marquez said the day after the shooting.

Hardin remained optimistic that the case will be solved.

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“I’m sure whoever did it told somebody about it,” the detective said. “And if somebody saw something or heard something, hopefully they will contact us.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Seal Beach police at (562) 799-4109 or (562) 799-4111.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Shootings Related

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Ballistics tests revealed that the same gun was used in several shootings Feb. 15.

1. 12:15 a.m.: Shots fired, entering two Cypress homes

2. 12:40 a.m.: Melody Spicer shot on transition road

3. 1:20 a.m.: Helena J. Dobiesz shot on 7th Street offramp

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Source: Times reports and Seal Beach police


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