How many times have you heard something this before? Someone “snaps” and goes on a killing spree. In the aftermath, police and the media talk to people who knew and worked with the person. They relate that “he was a quiet man,” or “no one ever expected anything like that” from the killer.
Yesterday 26-year-old Gerry Dean Zaragoza woke up and shot his father and brother to death before wounding his mother. He then left his Los Angeles home and attacked three other people — perfect strangers — killing two of them.
Zaragoza reportedly had a drug problem. Was that part of the cause? Who knows? Some people are sick, some insane, some sociopaths and some just plain evil.
This, though, is why we have the right to keep and bear arms (in some places more than others). While the chances of any one person being the target of an attack like this are small, everyone deserves the right to protect him or herself and their family.
Because just as happened yesterday in the San Fernando Valley, you don’t know when lightening may strike. And police can never be there when you need them.
Police struggle to find motive in LA shooting rampage
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police were struggling Friday to answer a key question a day after they captured a man they say fatally shot his father, brother and two other people during a 12-hour rampage across Los Angeles’ sprawling San Fernando Valley.
What set him off?
Police spent hours Thursday tracking 26-year-old Gerry Dean Zaragoza from one end of the valley to the other before taking him into custody not far from the site where the rampage began before dawn.
“We don’t know exactly what the motive was or why,” police Lt. Kirk Kelley told KABC-TV.
Michael Ramia, who employed Zaragoza’s father, Carlos, as a carpet cleaning technician, said the father had confided in him that his son was battling drug problems.
The father had tried to help his son by pushing him to come to work with him, Ramia said, but the younger Zaragoza seemed to have “no motivation.”
“He was a father just trying to protect his son,” Ramia said. “He did it to his last day. He wouldn’t give up on his son.”
Gerry Zaragoza was captured by plainclothes officers surveilling the area, police Capt. William Hayes said.
“There was a small use of force,” he said.
Television footage showed Zaragoza sitting in a wheelchair and appearing alert as he was loaded into an ambulance.
Authorities said he killed his father and brother and wounded his mother at an apartment complex in Canoga Park, a modest, aging neighborhood tucked into the southwest corner of the valley, home to nearly 2 million people..
From there, he traveled several miles to North Hollywood in the valley’s southeast area. There, police said, he gunned down two people. A woman believed to be an acquaintance was killed and a man was critically wounded.
Hours later, police said, Zaragoza shot and killed a stranger on a bus in Van Nuys, in the center of the valley.
Zaragoza is also suspected of an attempted robbery outside a Canoga Park bank, although nothing was taken and no one was hurt.
The rampage ended back in Canoga Park in a commercial section of the neighborhood. Police said a firearm was recovered during the arrest.