Rafu Wire and Staff Reports
The Los Angeles Police Department issued the following report on Tuesday:
“Today around 12:55 a.m., LAPD officers responded to a shooting incident at Figueroa/Exposition in Southwest Patrol Division. They found a male adult who had been shot at and sustained a graze wound to the head. The victim is expected to survive his injuries. The suspect was described as a male in a white Jeep Cherokee. That information was sent to all patrol units.
“Around 1:05 a.m., a shooting occurred near 28th Street/Figueroa, where a male adult was shot in his car. He was pronounced deceased at scene.
“Around 1:25 a.m., a male motorist was shot at 7th Street and Figueroa. The male was pronounced dead at scene.
“The suspect’s vehicle in all three shootings was similar and that information was broadcast to all units.
“Officers from Transit Services Division saw the vehicle near Washington and Maple. The suspect fled resulting in a lengthy vehicle pursuit on several freeways. The car became disabled after spike strips were used and stopped on the westbound 91 Freeway at the Raymond overpass in Fullerton.
“SWAT responded to assist due to the barricaded suspect. They initiated negotiations but this was not successful since suspect refused to submit to arrest. The suspect fired a weapon at the officers, resulting in an officer-involved shooting.
“The suspect was pronounced dead at scene and a weapon was recovered from his vehicle.
“Robbery Homicide Division personnel will be responsible for handling the criminal investigations and Force Investigation Division will conduct the OIS Invesigation.
“Because officers were actively engaged and present, they were able to prevent this suspect intent on violence from harming other members of the community.”
The LAPD later identified the two men killed as Alexis Carbajal, 24, and Mingzhi Zhu, 42.
Carbajal was shot while sitting in his blue Mustang at Figueroa and 28th streets, near USC, according to police. Family members told reporters at the scene that Carbajal, a newlywed, was in a drive-thru line at Starbucks with his wife, who escaped injury, when the suspect rammed his car and then opened fire. A GoFundMe account has been established to help Carbajal’s family.
“He was only 24 years old and left behind his mother, sisters, and wife,” the GoFundMe page reads. “He didn’t deserve this. He was a gentle soul who always put others before himself. He could light up any room and was such a caring person. The funds will go to his funeral services as this was an unfortunate tragic event for our family. We appreciate all your help and support during this hard time. We are grateful for everyone who has reached out and for all your love and support.”
About 15 minutes after Carbajal was shot, Zhu, an Uber driver behind the wheel of a Cadillac Escalade was fatally wounded near 7th and Figueroa. The South Pasadena resident was stopped at a red light when he was targeted.
“The senseless acts of violence that took the lives of two innocent people, including Mr. Mingzhi Zhu, who was on his way to pick up a rider, is heartbreaking,” Uber said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with those who lost their lives and their families.”
A GoFundMe account has also been established to help Zhu’s family. According to the fundraising page, Zhu was the sole financial provider for his family and is survived by his wife, an 8-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter.
Zhu, who arrived from China five years ago, “was a hard-working, intelligent, kind, gentle, and deeply loving person,” the page reads. “His family is at a loss without him. His family lovingly recalled the time an elderly passenger left $400 in the backseat of his Uber and Mingzhi made sure to reach out to him immediately and get that money returned. He was an honest man who cared for other people and loved his family above all else.”
The gunman was identified as Carlos Lopez, 49, of Los Angeles. He had an arsenal of weapons at his home and possessed a legally purchased AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, law enforcement sources told The Los Angeles Times. Police were investigating whether other weapons found in his home were legal, The Times reported.
“These appear to be random acts of violence … we have no idea what precipitated this,” Lt. Raul Jovel of the LAPD said at a news conference near where the pursuit ended. “We’ll be going back to the suspect’s home, talking to family members, trying to figure out what led to these acts of violence.”