LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police were struggling Friday to answer a key question a day after they captured a man they say fatally shot his father, brother and two other people during a 12-hour rampage across Los Angeles' sprawling San Fernando Valley.
Gerry Dean Zaragoza, the suspect in four slayings in Los Angeles, was arrested. (Source: KCAL/KCBS/LAPD/CNN)
What set him off?
Police spent hours Thursday tracking 26-year-old Gerry Dean Zaragoza from one end of the valley to the other before taking him into custody not far from the site where the rampage began before dawn.
"We don't know exactly what the motive was or why," police Lt. Kirk Kelley told KABC-TV.
Michael Ramia, who employed Zaragoza's father, Carlos, as a carpet cleaning technician, said the father had confided in him that his son was battling drug problems.
The father had tried to help his son by pushing him to come to work with him, Ramia said, but the younger Zaragoza seemed to have "no motivation."
"He was a father just trying to protect his son," Ramia said. "He did it to his last day. He wouldn't give up on his son."
Gerry Zaragoza was captured by plainclothes officers surveilling the area, police Capt. William Hayes said.
"There was a small use of force," he said.
Television footage showed Zaragoza sitting in a wheelchair and appearing alert as he was loaded into an ambulance.
Authorities said he killed his father and brother and wounded his mother at an apartment complex in Canoga Park, a modest, aging neighborhood tucked into the southwest corner of the valley, home to nearly 2 million people..
From there, he traveled several miles to North Hollywood in the valley's southeast area. There, police said, he gunned down two people. A woman believed to be an acquaintance was killed and a man was critically wounded.
Hours later, police said, Zaragoza shot and killed a stranger on a bus in Van Nuys, in the center of the valley.
Zaragoza is also suspected of an attempted robbery outside a Canoga Park bank, although nothing was taken and no one was hurt.
The rampage ended back in Canoga Park in a commercial section of the neighborhood. Police said a firearm was recovered during the arrest.
Associated Press writer John Rogers contributed to this story.
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