By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A blast of gunfire killed an automobile mechanic and wounded a cousin who was driving him home from work as their teenage sons sat behind the two men in a Southern California freeway shooting that has left police searching for suspects and a motive.
Agustin Villegas, 32, was riding in the front passenger seat of the family pickup truck through Anaheim on Monday night when the front passenger and driver-side windows exploded in shards of glass, Anaheim Police Lieutenant Bob Dunn said.
The driver, a 42-year-old cousin visiting from Arizona, managed to pull the truck to the side of the road and with the help of his son called emergency-911 for help.
By the time California Highway Patrol officers arrived on the scene, however, Villegas, was dead from a gunshot wound. The cousin, who was also struck by gunfire, was rushed to an area hospital, but was treated and later released, Dunn said.
The two boys, aged 13 and 15, were unscathed in the backseat of the truck, police said. Neither they nor the driver were publicly identified.
The exact circumstances and origins of the gunfire, which occurred about 25 miles (40 km) southeast of Los Angeles, remained unclear, Dunn said.
There was no evidence the shooting stemmed from any kind of a road-rage confrontation, and neither of the two men had any criminal history or other background that would offer a possible explanation for why they may have been targeted.
More than 12 hours after the shooting, police had yet to conclusively determine if the gunfire came from another vehicle or from a fixed point along the shoulder of the freeway, Dunn said. But witnesses reported seeing a dark or black-colored sedan, possibly a Honda Accord, that may have been connected to the shooting, he said.
The shooting and the investigation that followed snarled freeway traffic for hours, as police closed the westbound lanes and several on-ramps to look for clues.
(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Eric Beech)
- Crime & Justice