2 people were killed, and 3 others were injured in 4 7-Eleven stores shooting in Southern California Monday morning. Authorities claim at least 3 of the 4 shootings are linked to the same gunman.
The shootings occurred after robberies or attempted robberies at 4 7-Eleven stores on July 11 or 7/11 — a day when the convenience store celebrates its 95th birthday by giving out free Slurpee drinks.
“Our hearts are with the victims and their loved ones,” 7-Eleven, Inc. said in a statement. “We are gathering information on this terrible tragedy and working with local law enforcement.”
The motive for the shooting in Riverside, Santa Ana, Brea, and La Habra was unclear, and why the violence happened on July 11.
“I think the only person to answer that would be the suspect,” said Officer Ryan Railsback, a spokesperson for the Riverside Police Department, where the first shooting happened at about 1:50 a.m. “There’s no way it can be a coincidence of it being 7-Eleven, July 11.”
The Riverside shooting – where the victim was in grave condition – has not yet been officially connected to the others, Railsback said, “although they all seem very, very similar.”
According to Railsback, the gunman robbed the clerk and wielded a gun. The suspect turned the weapon on a customer, opened fire, and fled.
“It doesn’t appear to be any reason that the suspect shot the customer,” Railsback said. “It sounds like the clerk gave him whatever he asked for.”
The second shooting happened around 3:20 a.m. in Santa Ana, 24 miles away.
Officers responded to a report of gunshots at the city’s 7-Eleven and found a man dead in the parking lot with 1 bullet in his upper torso. The violence seems to include an attempted robbery, Sgt. Maria Lopez, a Santa Ana police spokesperson, said.
“At this moment, we don’t believe he was an employee. We don’t really know yet what he was doing there in a parking lot, if he was a potential customer or just walking by,” Lopez said.
Detectives believe that the suspect is also connected to the killing of a 7-Eleven employee in Brea. The employee died of a gunshot wound at around 4:18 a.m.