A massive manhunt was underway Thursday for an “armed and dangerous” man suspected of fatally shooting his father and brother and wounding his mother in a Canoga Park apartment, then gunning down a woman and injuring another man at a North Hollywood gas station.
Gerry Dean Zaragoza, 26, was identified by the Los Angeles Police Department as the suspected killer of his 50-year-old father, Carlos, and his 20-year-old brother in Canoga Park, along with the woman at the North Hollywood Shell station.
The suspect may have also committed an attempted robbery outside a bank in Canoga Park, and potentially another fatal shooting aboard an Orange Line bus in Van Nuys.
The first shooting occurred about 2 a.m. at an apartment in the 21000 block of Roscoe Boulevard, police said. Paramedics pronounced the two men dead at the scene and took a wounded woman — Zaragoza’s mother — to a hospital in stable condition, according to police. The woman was shot in an arm, according to reports from the scene.
The second shooting occurred about 2:45 a.m. at a Shell gas station in the 6700 block of Vineland Avenue. Both victims, who may have worked at the gas station, were taken to a hospital, where the woman was pronounced dead. The man was listed in critical condition, police said.
LAPD spokesman Josh Rubenstein said police believe Zaragoza and the two victims at the gas station were “acquaintances.” Reports from the scene suggested the woman may have been an ex-girlfriend of the suspect.
The names of the dead were not immediately released, although Zaragoza’s father was identified by his boss, Michael Ramia.
“He told me (Gerry Zaragoza) was violent in the house. He was very violent,” Ramia told reporters outside the Canoga Park apartment. “And I told Carlos, I said, `Carlos, get rid of him, you know? Just take him to rehab.’
“Today was his day off,” Ramia said. “… He took the day off to get his eyes checked. He was in my office yesterday, and he (was) supposed to come to work tomorrow.”
Gerry Zaragoza was last seen driving a newer model dark blue, possibly Jeep-style vehicle with paper plates, according to the LAPD. Various media reports suggested around midday that the vehicle had been found abandoned, but police could not immediately confirm those reports.
About 7:45 a.m., an attempted robbery possibly committed by Zaragoza occurred outside a bank at Sherman Way and Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Canoga Park, police said. Nobody is believed to have been injured in that hold-up, and it was unclear if the suspect got any money.
At 1 p.m., a person was fatally shot aboard an Orange Line bus at Victory Boulevard and Woodley Avenue in Van Nuys, and a suspect generally matching the description of Zaragoza was seen running from the scene. Los Angeles police responded in force, setting up a perimeter that stretched from Woodley to Haskell Avenue, between Victory and Vanowen Street. Officers were stationed at every intersection along the perimeter with orders to search every vehicle exiting the area.
There was no confirmation that Zaragoza was the suspect in that shooting. According to reports from the scene, the suspect was last seen wearing a blue Dodgers hat, gray jacket or shirt and blue jeans, but he asked at least one person on the street for a change of clothing.
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