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OC shooting spree survivor describes confrontation with gunman

February 20, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
One of the Orange County shooting victims who survived spoke out Wednesday, describing his confrontation with the gunman who killed three people before taking his own life.

The shooting rampage lasted for about an hour Tuesday and spanned several cities. The suspect was identified as Ali Syed of Ladera Ranch.

It was with heavy hearts the crew at R.D. Olson Construction returned to work, not even 24 hours after losing a fellow coworker.

"He called me and said one of our coworkers was shot," said a man who wanted to be identified only as Shane.

It was 26-year-old Jeremy Lewis. He was about to start his shift at a construction site when Syed shot and killed him, according to police. As his foreman and friend, Shane jumped in his truck and rushed across the street to help and found Lewis lying on the ground.

"The guy walked out with shotgun at me, told me that this was the result of narcotic companies, but it didn't matter because he would be dead in 20 minutes anyway," Shane said.

Shane says Syed told him to take 30 steps back.

"So I turned around and I heard him chamber another round, so I started running, and he shot at me, hit me in the arm," Shane said.

The bullet pierced through his bicep. Syed then got in Shane's truck and left Shane, the final victim in an hour-long shooting spree.

Minutes earlier, Syed killed Melvin Lee Edwards of Laguna Hills at a stop sign and took his BMW near the 55 Freeway off-ramp at McFadden Avenue and Village Way in Santa Ana.

"Anybody who's ever had the opportunity to meet Mel, I guarantee you, they can walk away feeling good, that they feel like they met someone special," said Jeff Osborn, the victim's brother-in-law.

Edwards, CEO of Rubicon Gear, was on his way to work when police say he was carjacked and killed by Syed.

"He never showed any anger, he was never rude to anybody. He was just an absolute delight to be around at all times, enjoyed life," Osborn said.

Damita Cunningham was on the 55 Freeway when Syed started randomly shooting at drivers. She didn't see Syed, but she was hit by a man who did. Thinking it was a hit-and-run, she followed him. Eventually the two ended up at the same stop sign where Edwards was killed just moments later.

"He said he seen the guy get out of the car, and it looked like he was shooting in the ground," Cunningham said. "But it was dark. He wasn't shooting in the ground. He was shooting that poor man on the ground."

Shane says as soon as Syed fled the construction site, three of his workers followed him in their cars, talking to authorities the entire time until Syed finally shot and killed himself on Wanda Road and Katella Avenue.


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