The early morning commute was just getting underway on suburban Orange County’s network of freeways when Melvin Lee Edwards pulled up to a stop sign near a busy off-ramp.
It was just after 5am and Edwards, 69, was on his way to work when, police say, a fleeing murder suspect forced him out of his BMW at gunpoint, marched him across the street and shot him three times from behind as horrified commuters watched.
The shooting was the second of three murders in a trail of carnage early Tuesday that spanned 40km but lasted just an hour. The shooter, 20-year-old Ali Syed, killed a woman in the home he shared with his parents, killed two drivers during carjackings, injured two others and shot up cars on a busy freeway interchange before committing suicide as police closed in, authorities said.
Syed, an unemployed part-time community college student, had no known motive and acted alone, said Tustin police Chief Scott Jordan. The first victim, a woman in her twenties, has not been identified and was not related to Syed, he said.
Americans have been embroiled in a fierce debate over gun violence, as the Obama administration wages an uphill battle to get Congress to approve new gun control laws.