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Whittier police arrest two after carjacking, shootings that left 1 dead, 2 injured

Sheriff’s detectives on Sunday were trying to determine what prompted a wild string of shootings in Whittier and the surrounding community that left one person dead and two others injured.

Officials said the random attacks appeared to be tied to two carjackings allegedly committed by a man and woman. Two people who might be linked to the shootings were arrested Sunday.

“This crime was unprovoked, and the victim of the homicide appeared to be a completely innocent person,” Lt. Rodney Moore of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau told reporters at a news conference Saturday night. This “seems to be a senseless act of violence, and there is no reason for this act of violence to have occurred that we can find at this time.”

The string of shootings began Saturday afternoon when the pair armed with a gun stole a car in Pico Rivera, said Sgt. Vincent Plair of the Sheriff’s Department.

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They opened fire twice in Whittier and twice in the neighboring city of La Mirada, fatally wounding one person and injuring two others, Plair said.

The man killed in La Mirada was later identified as Jose Sahagun, 44, of Norwalk, according to the Orange County coroner’s office.

“Yesterday our brother was callously murdered in front of his family while waiting at a stoplight,” Manuel Sahagun, a relative, told KABC-TV. “We are shocked and devastated.”

His family members called on the public to come forward if they have information about the assailants.

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The victim of the carjacking was unharmed, said Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The suspects abandoned the stolen car, a green Nissan Pathfinder, in Amelia Mayberry Park in Whittier, where deputies found the vehicle around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Plair said.

Two hours later at a motel in Whittier, police responded to reports of a shooting. A man and a woman matching the description of the suspects were found with a gun in a different stolen vehicle, said Sgt. Mike Ellis of the Whittier Police Department. One or both had gunshot wounds, Ellis said.

The pair were arrested on suspicion of grand theft auto and are being held at the Whittier Police Department.

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Sheriff’s detectives have not concluded whether the man and woman arrested by Whittier police are suspects in the Saturday afternoon shootings.

Authorities do not know who shot the duo that Whittier police arrested, but law enforcement officers were not involved in that shooting, Plair said.

frank.shyong@latimes.com

matt.hamilton@latimes.com

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UPDATES:

Sunday, 7:05 p.m.: This story was updated with statements from law enforcement officials.

Sunday, 11:20 a.m.: This story was updated with new information about arrests that may be connected with the shootings.

8:30: p.m.: This story was updated with new information about the two suspects at large.

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7:15 p.m.: This story was updated with information that authorities are now looking for more than one suspect, and that they had discovered the carjacked vehicle abandoned by the suspects.

6:40 p.m.: This story was updated to reflect the death of one of the shooting victims.

This story was originally posted at 6:05 p.m.


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