Gun violence remains at an all-time high as four shootings, including two deaths, took place at 7-Eleven stores in California on Monday.
Authorities are currently looking for a suspect in connection with three of the Los Angeles-area shootings. However, a police spokesperson said it remains to be seen whether the suspect will be linked to a 7-Eleven shooting in Riverside.
Riverside Police spokesman Ryan Railsback said one victim of the shooting, a customer in his 40s, was in “serious” condition as of late Monday afternoon.
The incident happened before 2 a.m. when the suspect entered the store, assaulted the cashier, and shot the customer before fleeing. According to the authorities, between 03:20 and 04:55, other thefts occurred in Santa Ana, Brea, and La Habra.
Santa Ana police spokesperson Sgt. Maria Lopez said it’s unclear whether “being a 7-Eleven on 7/11 has any relation to why he did it.”
“It’s hard for me to say,” she added.
7-Eleven, which gave away free frozen drinks for “Slurpee Day,” released a statement.
“Our hearts are with the victims and their loved ones,” the statement said. “We are gathering information on this terrible tragedy and working with local law enforcement.”
According to Sergeant Lopez, the Santa Ana victim was found in the parking lot outside 7-Eleven after the shooting was reported at 3:20 a.m. The unidentified victim was shot in the head and pronounced dead on the spot.
“We don’t believe he was an employee,” she said. “He may have been either walking or he was a potential customer.”
Investigators believe the suspect may be linked to other shootings after seeing a security photo released by authorities in Brea, 13 miles north. In the Brea shooting, officers responded after 4 a.m. to a call that a 7-Eleven employee had been critically shot during the robbery and was pronounced dead on the spot.
“Our hearts go out to the families of that person,” said Brea Police Captain Phil Rodriguez at a briefing. “Please know we’re thinking about you.”
Although more details about the shooting were not immediately available, Rodriguez said authorities plan to alert other 7-Eleven stores in the area to take additional precautions.
According to police spokesman Sergeant Sumner Bohee, the victims had been taken to a hospital, but there was no word on their condition.
“We feel confident it’s the same suspect,” Rodriguez said of the Brea and La Habra shootings.
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