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OC shooting spree: 1st shooting victim identified

Courtney Aoki, 20, is seen in this photo released by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
February 20, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The woman found shot to death at a home in Ladera Ranch was identified on Wednesday as 20-year-old Courtney Aoki of Buena Park. She was the first person killed in Tuesday's shooting rampage.

It remains unclear what her relationship is to the suspect, Ali Syed of Ladera Ranch. Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said during a press conference that reports that Aoki was a stripper are not confirmed.

Investigators say Syed shot Aoki at his house with a 12-gauge shotgun around 4:45 a.m. The gun belonged to him and was legally purchased by his father. Why Aoki was at Syed's house has not been determined. Syed lived at the residence with his parents. Police released the 911 call made by Syed's mother and father immediately after the first shots were fired.

"I heard gunshots," his mother was heard saying frantically while an alarm could be heard in the background. When asked if she thought someone was shot inside the house, she says, "Yes."

Syed's father was then heard saying he thought his son got into some sort of fight.

"I heard something, and he just left the home," he said.

Authorities say Syed then drove more than 20 miles across Orange County, shooting at vehicles on the 55 Freeway, carjacking three innocent people in Tustin and Santa Ana. At the end of his crime spree, three people were dead: Aoki, 69-year-old Laguna Hills resident Melvin Lee Edwards and 26-year-old Jeremy Lewis.

A motive for the shootings also remains unclear. Authorities described Syed as a loner, saying he spent a lot of time alone in his room playing video games. He was unemployed and had no prior criminal history. Authorities did not find any narcotics in Syed's home.

After killing Lewis, Syed injured a second worker, identified only as Shane, then fled from that location with Shane's truck until he got to Wanda Road and Katella Avenue, where police say he killed himself.


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