Wednesday, March 19, 2008

SoCal Shooting

Four men were shot to death in a junk yard on March 18, 2008, at Santa Maria, near California's central coast in what police called "a case of workplace violence."

In a wild scene that sent workers and customers fleeing for their lives, police said, the shooter killed the men with a semiautomatic handgun, pausing at one point between rounds to reload. A suspect was later taken into custody.

The shooting at Black Road Auto was reported about 4 p.m., and all four victims were dead by the time police and medics arrived, Police Chief Danny Macagni told the Santa Maria Times.

The victims, whose names were not immediately released, were shot at close range, Macagni said. One victim was found outside the junk yard, and three were found inside.

The gun used in the shooting was found at the scene.

"This is a case of workplace violence," the chief said. "We have a lot of work to do here. We have a very large crime scene."

Police aided by California Highway Patrol helicopters searched the area to see whether there were more victims. Macagni said police believed there was "a sole suspect that entered the premises and fired the shots."

Officers chased the man over a fence, tackled him and took him into custody. Police said witnesses have identified the man who did the shooting.

The junkyard, Black Road Auto, is on the outskirts of Santa Maria, near Black and West Stowell roads. Santa Maria is a city of 92,000 people 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles, in northwestern Santa Barbara County.

Homicides are rare in Santa Maria, which is in a largely agricultural area. In 2006, there were two homicides in the city; in 2005, there were three.
Lee Isaac Bedwell Leeds of Santa Maria was booked for investigation of murder and was held without bail. Police issued a news release saying witnesses at the scene identified the 31-year-old as the gunman.

At least one of those killed at Black Road Auto was related to Leeds, two were employees and the fourth victim appears to have been a customer of the business, investigators said. The wrecking yard is in the outskirts of Santa Maria, about 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

No comments: