The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a $15,000 reward Tuesday for information leading to the arrest or conviction of whoever killed three men and wounded nine other people at a Halloween-themed birthday party in Long Beach.
Supervisor Janice Hahn recommended the reward, saying investigators don’t know the motive for the shooting, but believe a reward could prompt reluctant witnesses to come forward.
About 10:45 p.m. Oct. 29, Long Beach police responded to reports of a shooting at a home in the 2700 block of East 7th Street in the Rose Park area. Maurice Poe Jr., 25, of Long Beach; Melvin Williams II, 35, of Gardena; and Ricardo Torres, 28, of Inglewood, died at the scene.
They were seven women and two men wounded, some of whom had life-threatening injuries.
“The crime scene is horrific; there’s blood everywhere,” Long Beach Police Department Chief Robert Luna told reporters at a briefing the next morning.
A spokeswoman for the Long Beach Police Department told City News Service Tuesday it was still unknown whether there was more than one suspect involved.
Luna told reporters during the Oct. 30 briefing that investigators determined that a gunman appeared to fire indiscriminately into the crowd of 25 to 30 people from an alley behind the residence. Police said he wore dark clothing, concealed his face and fled in a dark-colored vehicle.
Luna later told ABC7 that casings at the scene led detectives to believe that there may have been multiple weapons used.
The man who rents the home where the shooting occurred told the Long Beach Post that his son, Daniel Chan, had been hosting a birthday party for one of his co-workers. Chan Hou said his family was safe, but some friends were killed.
Chan told the Long Beach Press-Telegram that as he was welcoming guests into the backyard through a side entrance, a man came up to him and said, “Be prepared to die tonight, Daniel” and then ran off.
Chan quickly ushered his guests inside to keep them safe, he told the newspaper. Later, people moved back outside and gunfire rang out.
“There was blood everywhere,” Chan told the Press-Telegram. “I tried to get to them, by my dad pulled me back.”
Chan’s mother, Da Heng, told the newspaper that she saw a man standing on the back fence with a gun.
Luna said many of the partygoers worked together and lived outside of Long Beach.
Poe was an aspiring entrepreneur who was the father of a 3-year-old daughter, his father told ABC7 following a Buddhist ceremony held to help the spirits of the three dead men move on.
“My son was full of life,” Poe Sr. told the Post.
Williams sang in his church choir and was “the light that brightened up the room,” his stepbrother told the Press-Telegram.
Torres was a line cook at the unnamed South Bay company where many of the partygoers worked.
“He was a great person … he always made you feel welcomed,” a friend told the Post.
Police identified the wounded victims as a 20-year-old woman from Anaheim, a 27-year-old woman from Hawthorne, a 27-year-old man from Cudahy, a 28-year-old woman from Los Angeles, a 28-year-old woman from Gardena, a 29-year-old man from Hawthorne, a 30-year-old woman from Compton, a 32-year-old woman from Lawndale and a 49-year-old woman from Los Angeles.
Luna urged the public to call police with any information that could be helpful to the investigation, telling reporters he didn’t believe the shooting was a “random act of violence.”
Luna called the shooter a coward.
“What kind of coward walks up to an apartment and starts firing into an apartment full of people indiscriminately?” Luna asked.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia called it “a horrific and sad day in our city,” and asked residents to “please keep the victims and their families in your thoughts.
Chan’s family has moved out of the house permanently, no longer feeling safe and troubled by the memories there, according to the Press-Telegram.
Hou, who survived mass killings by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, wept while telling a reporter, “When I look there, I see their bodies.”
Hahn urged anyone with more information to call Long Beach police Detective Mark Mattia at 562-570-7244. Tipsters can also call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).
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