Gerry Dean Zaragoza los angeles shooting spree
This photo from video provided by KABC-TV shows Gerry Dean Zaragoza, 26, a suspect in a 12-hour rampage in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley, being wheeled to an ambulance after his arrest Thursday afternoon, July 25, 2019. Zaragoza fatally shot his father, brother and two other people, then eluded an intense manhunt until plainclothes officers arrested him soon after he gunned down a city bus passenger, authorities said. (KABC-TV via AP)
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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.

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  1. The poor man, we all know it was the evil guns that made him do this, not the drugs or mixture of numerous drugs, stimulants. Sarc.

  2. My first thought was drugs…..or wrong meds. We all know the gun was just the tool for the job. Could have been a knife, baseball bat, hammer. Sad, for the whole family left to deal with the aftermath.

    • Tool could have been a car. For some reason, whenever I drive through Los Angeles, I can feel the tension in the air, could be the smog.

  3. Sounds like some Junkie looking for money, Mom and Dad said no , bang, bang.. brother stepped in to stop him and bang…. went to hit up the ex she said no, bang some unarmed would be hero stepped in got shot and survived.. junkie jumped on a bus tried to hit up a stranger for cash, stranger said no, strangers dead, lucky for the cops he could only carry 10 rounds and probably used them up on his killing spree so no blaze of glory shootout for this asshole…. fucking heroin junkie is the most dangerous person on the the planet with the exception of the asshole in Fl that killed his whole family because no one would give him money to send to his Bulgarian computer whore after he’d already stolen money and property from them to the tune of 200 grand and sent it all to her… Hopefully it will be lethal injection for both of them…

    • California does not have a death penalty. Perp will be out by his 40th birthday.

      Looks like California is just as unsafe under Newtsome as it is under any other jackleg.

    • “lucky for the cops he could only carry 10 rounds and probably used them up on his killing spree so no blaze of glory shootout for this asshole…. ”

      Just like the Virginia Tech and Parkland shooters. Thank God they only had 10 round magazines. /sarc/

      • Yeah, I think I’ll load up all my 40 round mags and go out to the range in the morning, might even stop off at the gun shop and grab another five or six hundred rounds on the way…. Glad I’m not in one of those states that have banned my ARs, big mags and require a BACKGROUND check for every bullet I buy…

  4. Because we cannot explain things like this, because we have no means of preventing things like this, “the shooter just snapped” mantra gains strength. Truth we have to face is the average citizen demands a fix, and if we cannot come up with one that works 99.9% of the time, then heavy restrictions on gun ownership are the only alternative the average citizen can see, or understand. And because there will always be the 0.1% who “just snap”, regardless of logic and data, the only solution acceptable to people just going about their business is complete gun confiscation.

    We can argue all day that laws don’t prevent crime, but it is spitting into the wind; the overall public is unimpressed.

    We can pound statistics all days, but the overall public demands a solution to the crazies with guns. Of note, the public does not see gangs and the criminal element as a threat because those groups are filled with “crazies” who live where “normal” people live, work, shop and play.

    Whether we accept it or not, non-gun people believe thoroughly that if they stay away from crime-ridden locales, crime will stay out of their lives. Which comes full circle to fear of the “normal” person who “just snaps” and goes on a shooting spree. The argument that if armed, we at least stand a chance at self-defense begs the question as to why these “normal” looking people have a gun int the first place.

    Logic, statistics, reason, human rights mean nothing to people fearful to the core that they will be shot in the food court at the mall. Fear is a tough thing to let go of. We cannot defeat it by proclaiming that setting standards based on fear is somehow irrational.

    In the end, we are left with, “Stuff happens, life’s a bummer, then you die”. Protecting our human, civil and natural right to self-defense is crucial, but finding a way to more effectively deal with incidents as the one reported is key to recovering our rights under the constitution.

    Face it, we have and carry our guns because we realize the threat (fear) imposed by a possible criminal attack, and the bozo who “goes off”.

    • “…And because there will always be the 0.1% who “just snap”, regardless of logic and data,…”

      I have no proof but I believe there is a higher percentage of what I call “functional wackodoodles” just waiting for something/someone to push them full over. They seem pretty normal until they don’t

      Hard to point to a specific reason, they just are. Best to avoid them and keep your 2A close.

      • “… I believe there is a higher percentage of what I call “functional wackodoodles…”

        Wouldn’t disagree. Used the 0.1% in deference to the 99.9% figure used in the article.

    • Part of the issue is the lack of a known and sure deterrent.
      Take away the death penalty and supplant it with “life w/o parole” or endless delays on death row and the fear that would keep some of these “people” in line is gone.
      There will always be a few crazies out there, but sure and swift punishment IS a deterrent.
      I.E. Klamath county, Or. 1901. A cowboy comes to town on payday Friday. Gets drunk, shoots and kills another cowboy.
      In jail Sat. morning, trial by jury on Monday, hung on Friday.
      End of story.

      • “…but sure and swift punishment IS a deterrent.”

        Way back then, in one of my law classes in college, the deterrent effect of law was a big topic. The professor proposed three elements to a deterrent factor: certainty of being caught/identified as the perp; severity of punishment; likelihood the punishment will be fully applied. If any element was missing, or discounted by the perp as an actual threat to committing a crime, the perp would proceed with the act.

        • The 1st joke I heard in the Marine Corps (that I later realized was a warning): “There are 3 Marines you should always avoid: a private who says, ‘learned this in boot camp,’ a lieutenant who says, ‘Based on my experience,’ and a sergeant who says, ‘Come check this shit out. It’s going to be funny.'”

          • “…a sergeant who says, ‘Come check this shit out. It’s going to be funny’ .”

            In the Chair Force, I learned it as, “Hold my beer; watch this shi..”

            Well, there was this one really old four-stripe sergeant who told me to beware of a senior sergeant because the senior claimed to be successful at Russian Roulette with a Beretta M-9.

        • In my psychology class another factor was taught. In order for a sanction to be an effective deterrent it must be applied relatively temporally proximate to the undesired behavior. Keeping people years on death row has taken the tooth out of capital punishment, just as intended, so that they may now argue that capital punishment is not an effective deterrent.

          • Swift and certain capital punishment is an attractive concept, except….

            Too many errors. Have not completely given up on the idea, but given the number of people taken off death row (because mistakes were clearly made) in the last few years, one wonders.

            Recommend reading John Grisham’s “The Innocent Man”. It is a true story that reads as if it were one of his legal thrillers. The book unsettled me. Not so sure of my arrogant pronouncements on death penalty, anymore.

    • I kind of have a theory on this that I developed when one of my friends had the unenviable job of trying to convince mentally ill people to let him take a blood sample from them (research into looking genetic and other biomarkers to concretely diagnose mental illness).

      There were times he did this on the street and asked me to go with him to sorta keep an eye on things. I noted that nearly every, not every but like 95% or more, homeless person we encountered had two things in common. Massive drug use and mental illness, mostly schizophrenia.

      So I asked about this and it’s actually pretty well known but not very well understood. The current Rx drugs for schizophrenia work reasonably well but they have nasty side effects. Drugs and booze work just as well but without nasty side effects and instead just get the user all fucked up. However in most cases it DOES suppress their hallucinations. What drugs the people like depends on their hallucinations/symptoms of mental illness/unknown factors. Most drink or use other CNS depressants but some people get better results from stimulants (coke mostly from what I’ve seen/heard) and hallucinogenic drugs (LSD, mushrooms etc). People with milder symptoms sometimes smoke a lot of pot and actually end up pretty well functional.

      These people avoid doctors. Partly that’s because of paranoia, part is not wanting to admit their problem due to stigma and part of it is because the docs can only Rx the drugs with nasty side effects and cannot Rx coke, booze or LSD. So, they avoid the docs and get their drugs on the street.

      This presents a serious problem. First, they’re self-medicating which is never a good idea. Second, they don’t really know what they’re getting because they’re using street drugs. Third, if their symptoms get worse they have no one to assist them and no real way to control their dosages. Forth, if the problem really starts to slide out of control there is no one there to “rescue” them because they’re usually living on the street without medical assistance.

      So I have to wonder about some things here. Violence is correlated to some degree with drug use but the other way around doesn’t work nearly as well statistically. A hell of a lot of people do drugs without getting violent, in fact many times more people use a substance than become violent criminals while using that substance. That raises the question of if the drugs cause violence (personally I doubt this) or if people with certain proclivities, including violence, are drawn to drugs for some reason (I think this is more likely).

      Regardless, with the druggie/person who “just snaps” you have to consider the way that schizophrenia “works” in regards to “snapping”. The day the symptoms start to manifest the people know it. Waking up one morning, having breakfast and suddenly watching two raisins throw a crumb back and forth on a dining table while singing Creedence Clearwater songs (a story from a diagnosed schizophrenic of his first hallucination)… yeah you know something’s fucked in your own head. The problem is that as the symptoms get worse these people slowly lose their grip on reality. The hallucinations often get stronger and more frequent, starting to blend into reality because the person has no outside way of knowing what’s real or not. That must be terrifying at first, but once it goes far enough they’re then oblivious to it because they cannot tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not. They’ve been in “Wonderland” too long.

      So to me, it’s not surprising that someone has problems like this that they self-medicate on and eventually lose contact with reality.

      Now, the vast majority of these people are not dangerous at all but a few will have crazy hallucinations like this guy we talked to who told us that very large spiders lived in a certain alleyway downtown and that he avoided the area because the spiders were agents of the Devil and that they spoke to him. Told him to do things. Terrible things to innocent people. He knew their power and he feared it. You see, he’d seen them suck the souls from people who then became agents of Satan. The spiders were not of our world and therefore couldn’t be kill, fought or even resisted physically. They’re basically demons, not his explanation of them, but close enough. He was torn. He can’t listen to the spiders because they’re evil and telling him to do evil things but the people they steal souls from are also evil and will do evil things to innocent people. Yet, those people are victims of the spiders/Devil too. Can they be harmed to prevent harm to others even though they’re just victims? He didn’t know the answer.

      Imagine someone having that kind of dilemma in their head for years on end, slowly losing touch with what’s real and what’s not… it’s not hard to believe that one day he might totally lose his grip, “snap” and either listen to the spiders or kill their victims to save others. Talking to someone like that and knowing that heroin is a big part of what keeps him from taking sides in the “spider war”… well heroin doesn’t seem so evil after that.

      • Another factor is has there ever been a study of psychotropic pharmaceuticals combined with nicotine, alcohol, or other substances?

        When combined with common drugs, do meds work the way they should?

        • I have no idea. I haven’t studied this professionally and I wasn’t involved in any research on it.

          I just went along with him because he asked me to and endured up seeing thi as that made me ask a lot of questions of both him and his coworkers.

          Frustratingly a lot of what seemed like pretty basic questions had no good answers. They hadn’t been rigorously studied so the best you could get was the anecdotal experience of the clinicians that treated the mentally ill.

      • Enjoyed the read; thanx.

        Thinking the fear of people who “snap” and go on a killing spree doesn’t bring to mind the homeless. The people who fear the “snap” wouldn’t want to be in areas where homelessness is visible. They fear the “normal” looking people, people who look like people the anti-gunners would circulate among. It is fear that their assumed safe spaces are actually filled with crazies carrying guns. The presumed reasonable response is to keep guns out of the hands of everyone (except the gangs and criminals). That way, a crazy person (drugged or otherwise) can’t shoot people (no guns, no death from gunfire). All the other tools are considered so ludicrous as to be not worth a thought (which is not really bizarre; how many mass killings in this country are conducted by someone wielding a hatchet?). Besides, someone carrying a sword, hatchet, ball bat, whatever, is easier to spot, and flee from. You can’t see a bullet coming.

        Fear is real, drives decisions, frames lives. We disparage fear at our risk.

        • Yeah, if it was all obviously mental patients then I don’t think it would cause the fear you’re talking about.

          It’s the “quiet, normal guy” that scares people.

          Based on my experience I’m simply forced to wonder how many of those people are living in the shadows with their family helping to cover it up, neither realizing what could go wrong.

          I don’t think there’s really a way to know since they’re probably not going to be honest about something they already feel the need to cover up.

          • “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind.”

            “The fate of the country does not depend on how you vote at the polls — the worst man is as strong as the best at that game; it does not depend on what kind of paper you drop into the ballot-box once a year, but on what kind of man you drop from your chamber into the street every morning.”
            – – HD Thoreau

    • People don’t just “snap” because they suddenly do evil things. I’ve also heard this described as “as going over to the dark side” as though mystical force captured an otherwise normal person. In fact, people do these things because they want to do them. Their actions are purposeful and involve complex cognitive processes which are required in all forms of meaningful behavior.

      • “People don’t just “snap”…”

        Agree, but I am not an anti-gunner. The anti-gunners have given up on “fixes”. Can’t control everyone, so control the implements used to deal death. Guns are the most threatening because they can be made to visit death and injury from long distances, from unexpected locations. Because the next person to “snap” cannot be identified prior, more guns means more opportunities for the crazy person to act.

        Abject fear of something is not easily susceptible to reason and logic.

        • A few days ago I had just this conversation with gun-controller who arguing for magazine limitations. When I asked him why he wanted arbitrary limits (i.e., how in the hell do you know . . .?) he stepped in it big time by saying magazine limitations would prevent spree killers from murdering so many people! I told him that tacitly accepting that nothing could stop spree killers—and then arguing that the appropriate response was to limit the number of rounds they could fire at one time—was an act of abject cowardice. I then reminded him that this is exactly why the 2nd Amendment supports an armed citizenry: it’s always better to confront evil instead of trying to make deals to try to limit the amount of harm evil can do. This is one of the fundamental disconnects that People Of The Gun have with gun-controllers.

          • “…it’s always better to confront evil instead of trying to make deals to try to limit the amount of harm evil can do.”

            Nicely done. Can I claim it as mine?

      • “…people do these things because they want to do them.”

        True. But if that person’s desires are the result of a loss of touch with reality, is that their fault? They form and react to a plan based on an interpretation of reality that’s flawed and which we cannot see or know about unless they tell us.

        We see their actions but that’s observation of the symptom, not the root cause.

        If it’s not their fault then in Western philosophy we have the notion that we cannot punish them but must offer them help. Yet, in our view of individual rights they can refuse that help based on their incorrect interpretation of reality which means we can’t help them and we can’t ethically or morally punish them.

        Serious questions, questions that go to the very root of the philosophical underpinnings of Western Civ start coming up. That’s ground we best tread carefully on, which I think is Sam’s point. That at first glance we seem to have an intractable problem.

        • When it comes to stopping them –which is where we are once they snap– it hardly matters what their motivations are. That’s for a judge/jury or God Himself to decide, depending on how the killer is brought down.

        • That’s not the point that I took Sam to be making.

          He was stating, in my reading of his comment, that ultimately in the real world politics affects us and that politically we have two real choices: Find a way to stop people who “snap” before they cause damage or deal with the inevitable fact that eventually the public will turn in mass against the 2A and we’ll probably lose it.

          Shooting the crazy guy after he starts doing damage is, at this point, the best real world option but if we don’t come up with another way to reduce the number of crazies then the public will eventually decide that guns are “too dangerous” and choose to “control” the tool rather than do something about preventing the person misusing that tool from ever getting to the point that they misuse it in the first place.

          • “He was stating, in my reading of his comment, that ultimately in the real world politics affects us and that politically we have two real choices: Find a way to stop people who “snap” before they cause damage or deal with the inevitable fact that eventually the public will turn in mass against the 2A and we’ll probably lose it.”

            You understood correctly, and condensed it. Guess I went around Robin Hood’s barn trying to use many words when less would have been better.

  5. He’s an example of the Majority of Nut Cases in the Czech Republic of Mexifornia.

  6. Why? The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Why ask why?!? Just try and be ready(even if you’re carrying outside the “law”). He!! we had a would-be carjacker run through my yard with the local 5-O in hot pursuit. I was locked & loaded. Can’t defend yourself in Commiefornia? LEAVE…

  7. I believe it’s ALL a large scale social engineering project. (Re: To Help breakdown societal norms…Create inflated stress upon the general public. Some so strong that it causes people to snap…Like a bad psy-ops; like mind control experiments being fostered upon the American people. With political goals to suggest that too many freedoms and rights results in violent behavior…That most people already have the propensity to become felons…That No One is innocent…Anyone could suddenly become a criminal….So rights reasoned away…Promotes Authoritarianism….Then the public surrenders into Totalitarianism…) Just an educated guess…

  8. This should qualify as “domestic violence” even though he did shoot a couple of other people.

  9. Only question, why is a 26 yo male still living with mommy and daddy?

    I guess living with at least daddy is no longer an issue.

    When will CA learn, babying the masses is not the solution.

  10. Actually, this sort of behavior is rare. If it was common, it would never make headlines.

    What is blatantly obvious is that each of us is our own first responder. The police do an adequate job finding people who commit crimes, but physically cannot prevent any form of violence.

  11. Didn’t you guys just share a VOX article written from someone complaining about seeing guns in EDC because they live in a “safe community” in LA? Lol.

  12. Am I the only one who’s fed up hearing how the “experts” are hard at work TRYING to understand why the shooter “did” the horrible act???
    REALITY CHECK; The shooter is INSANE and/or SEVERELY impaired by mind altering substances. Your welcome.
    If ANY “expert” comes forward making statements to the effect of “understanding” why a sociopath went on a killing spree, this PROVES the “expert” is INSANE.
    We should sit the “expert” on the killers lap in the electric chair.

    • Sometimes experts cannot see the obvious. Especially when their perspective is skewed by socio-political influences.

  13. The valley has a ton of Scumbags spun out on Crystal meth. It’s gotten crazy cheap and insanely high quality in the last 10 years thanks to the cartels and lately there is lots of losers like this floundering about. Most drugs won’t make you lose your shit but meth always will if you stay awake long enough. You can spend $50 and stay up for 4-6 days. Based on the photo of the perp I saw he was certainly a tweaker. Hope he rots in hell

  14. Ah ha, I’ve found out what the cops do with all the dead guys, , , they bury them for later. Even the coyotes can’t digum up.

  15. I was on neurontin for a short time to control nerve pain following surgery. One of the side effects risk of suicide. It made me feel indefferent to the outside world. If I drove my car off the road or hit a pole there where no feelings there to guide my actions. After two weeks I stopped taking it. I know opioids are ruining the country but drugs like neurontin are devistating. These drugs are being used in secondary applications from what they were designed for.

  16. Yesterday I posted 4 links to DGUs with happy endings that occured this week but TTAG admin took it down. They were from conceald natiom webcite if anyone’s interested.

  17. Why do we keep getting stories about anarchy in Ca? This is not news..

    Ca is a failed 3rd world state. If you have chosen to live there, Im sorry.. I cant help you.. we all have to live with the consequences of our decisions..

    If you survive.. and finally decide to flee the state.., please check any political ideologies at the state line.. Learn and Live..

  18. This was not the good son that sang in the choir in church with his deacon father. He wasn’t a vet that was going to college and just decided to climb into a clock tower and start shooting. This is a man who grew up poor, whose father worked hard(and still did in his late 40s or 50s). Living in these areas means that if the parents can’t be hands on, there is a good chance that the kid will get into trouble. Even in the poorer areas in SoCal, rents and property values are very high. A “deal” for an 1150 sq ft 3 bedroom home with a single garage would be $2200 a month plus utilities. This means both parents must work long hours and they are NOT there for the kids. There are so many grown men looking for daily work, that a teen can not get a job to pay for status items that he wants, so he slings dope to get the money to get them(at 14 or so). By the time he is 17, he has been in legal trouble and has been using his product.

    Why would he want to work with dad and get $60 for cleaning someone’s carpets for 4 hours, when he could get $300+ on the corner for that same 4 hours?

    Dad says he is wrong, he falls deeper and deeper into meth and then the crazies got him. Meth is the worst

  19. Too bad someone didn’t cure him right on the spot. He’ll be out in 10 years and do it again.

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