Long Beach police still looking for shooters in Halloween party attack that left 3 dead
After a months-long investigation garnered few leads, authorities in Long Beach turned to the public on Friday to seek help identifying the shooters who opened fire at a party at a home last year, killing three people and wounding nine others.
It’s been more than eight months since police and fire officials arrived at what Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna described as a chaotic scene at a home on 7th Street near Temple Avenue in response to the shooting. Officers found victims inside and outside the home. Some of the partygoers were dressed in costume for the Halloween-themed birthday bash.
Nine people — seven women and two men — were taken to area hospitals. Three men — Maurice Poe Jr., 25, of Long Beach; Melvin Williams II, 35, of Gardena; and Ricardo Torres, 28, of Inglewood — were pronounced dead at the scene.
Using security camera footage from various locations around the home, police have identified three vehicles — a white Toyota 4Runner, a silver Chrysler PT Cruiser and a white Toyota RAV4 — that they suspect may have been driven by the assailants. Police released videos of the vehicles Friday in the hope that someone will come forward with license plate numbers or information about the drivers.
During a news conference Friday, police did not provide information about the number of assailants they believe to be involved nor how they believe the shooting unfolded on Oct. 29.
“Our intent is to arrest everyone who was involved and then we can put the pieces of this very complicated puzzle together,” Luna said.
Initially, authorities suspected that a lone masked gunman climbed the wall of the home from a rear alley and opened fire on almost 30 people attending the birthday party before fleeing in a dark vehicle. However, over the course of their investigation, authorities have determined that the shooting was likely carried out by multiple assailants who traveled to the party in light-colored vehicles from North Long Beach.
“If you remember the tragic events of this incident, the day after the incident I referred to these suspects as cowards and I think that’s what they are when you consider the brutal attack and the way this occurred,” Luna said.
Luna said the situation did not appear to be a “random act of violence,” but did not say whether investigators have determined a motive in the shooting. He added that based on interviews with witnesses and statements the attackers made at the scene, investigators now believe the shooters may have been gang members. None of the victims had ties to any gang, he said.
Officials are offering a $40,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the individuals involved. Anyone with information is asked to call the department’s Homicide Detail at (562) 570-7244.
“Even a small amount of information can significantly help our investigation,” Luna said.
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