shooter draft 2

Police officers tape off scene of the first of two carjackings made by 20-year-old suspect, Ali Syed. (Valery Fregoso/Lariat)

Michael Grennell, Valrey Fregoso, Kristine Martinez, Angie L. Pineda

Saddleback student, Ali Syed, 20, was identified by Orange County Sheriff’s Department as the suspect behind the shooting spree that left three people dead and five people injured, before turning the gun on himself on Tuesday Feb. 19.

Information on Syed’s shootings was released by the Tustin Police Department at a press conference held that same afternoon.

  • At 4:45 a.m., several gunshots were heard from Syed’s parents home on Red Leaf Lane in Ladera Ranch. Courtney Aoki, 20, was found dead with multiple gunshots to the head inside the residence.
  • Syed fled from his home in his parents’ black SUV heading north on Interstate 5, exiting Red Hill Avenue in Tustin.
  • In a Denny’s parking lot near the Red Hill Avenue exit, Syed began shooting at the second victim’s car. The victim survived after receiving a gunshot wound to the back of the head.
  • Noticing damage to the SUV, Syed walked to the nearby Mobil gas station where he proceeded to steal a car, leaving the owner uninjured.
  • Continuing onto the I-5 to the I-55, Syed stopped his car at the on-ramp where he started to shoot at cars passing by. He shot at three cars, injuring one person.
  • Syed continued on the I-55, exited McFadden Avenue where he approached a BMW and shot Melvin Lee Edward, 69.
  • Taking the victim’s BMW, Syed fled back to the I-55 before he exited onto Edinger Avenue. He then approached and killed construction worker, Jeremy Louis, 26, and injured another victim at the Micro Center store.
  • He then proceeded north on I-55, exiting at Katella Avenue where he continued to the intersection of Wanda Road and Katella in the city of Orange. With California Highway Patrol Officers approaching, Syed exited his car, turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.

 Information pertaining to Syed’s weapon, the first victim, and the 911 calls were released to the public during a press conference at the Tustin Police Department by Orange County Sheriff’s spokesperson Jim Amormino last Wednesday. 
The first victim, Courtney Aoki, was from Buena Park, Calif. The reason is still unclear as to why she was at Syed’s residence in Ladera Ranch the morning of the incident. Aoki was found fully clothed and was identified through two pairs of fingerprints, as the first attempt failed to identify her. No evidence of sexual assault was found but more test will be done during the autopsy, according to Amormino.
Aoki, was allegedly two months pregnant the morning of her murder, according to her close friend Danni Wood, 23, of Long Beach, Calif.
Friends said they were shocked to hear about the death of their close friend.

“Baby sister was everything to me,” Wood said. “I could talk to her about everything.”
Wood refers to herself not just as a close friend but as a “big sister.”
According to authorities there were rumors of Aoki being a stripper. Aoki’s ex-boyfriend Roger Azevedo, 22, of Eatonton, Ga., and Wood both confirmed that she stripped and also offered erotic services for clientele. Information was also found of a profile on an escort websites that appears to have belonged to Ms. Aoki. The advertisement said, “I’m a very classy and discrete private dancer” who was available in the Orange County and Los Angeles County areas.
Azevedo and Wood told the Lariat that they told her multiple times that she didn’t need to continue these services saying she was outgoing and very loving.
Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College both confirmed that Aoki was not enrolled in either schools.
Syed was enrolled in one class this semester, Computer Maintenance and Repair I, taught by instructor Eugene Evancoe According to Jennie McCue, Saddleback College spokesperson, The class met once a week on Wednesday mornings.
“He didn’t talk to anybody, he just sat back, did his thing and went on his way,” classmate Nick Rupp said.
Evancoe was surpris
ed that his quiet student could commit such a crime. “He didn’t give any reason for alarm or concern,” Evancoe said. “He seemed like a normal student. He was a little quiet, but he was well behaved in class.”
According to EvancoeSyed was an A to B grade student, who seemed very interested in computer repairs. “He did well on his tests and assignments,” Evancoe said. “I think he liked to work on computers on his own because he knew a little more than what the class was covering.” 
Saddleback’s student disability center has declined to disclose information as to whether or not he was enrolled within the program during his duration at Saddleback.
According to Adam Goldstein, attorney advocator for the Student Press Law Center, of Arlington Va., “the law says they can take as much time as need as long as they don’t exeed ten days.

Suspect’s, Ali Syed, residence in Ladera Ranch. (Kristine Martinez/Lariat)

Ali Syed, 20, killed three people early Tuesday morning before killing himself. (AP Photo/Tustin Police Department )

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