Carlos Lopez Melendez, the Los Angeles gunman who went on a shooting rampage Tuesday, had an arsenal of firearms in his home, including an illegally purchased AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. Lopez Melendez killed two people and wounded two others during his rampage before being fatally shot by police on the 91 Freeway in Fullerton. The motive is still being investigated.
The Los Angeles Police Department identified the gunman as Carlos Lopez Melendez, 49, after a heated standoff near Raymond Avenue. The police blocked off the suspect’s white Jeep Cherokee after a high-speed chase around 4 a.m. Carlos Lopez Melendez was shot and killed by police after reportedly opening fire on the LAPD officers.
Lopez Melendez is the suspect in multiple shootings which all occurred within a 30-minute timeframe miles apart from one another. Lt. Raul Jovel of the Los Angeles Police Department explained that the nature of the shootings appeared to be random.
Two men were shot and killed during the spree, but sources have varied information on how many were injured. The number ranges from one to two individuals wounded by Melendez early morning Tuesday.
“These appear to be random acts of violence … we have no idea what precipitated this,” Jovel said during a news conference. “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.”
Carlos Lopez Melendez opened fire in five different locations, but his motivation remains unclear. There appears to be no connection between the victims and the shooter, sources said.
The LAPD believes the act could have been a hate crime since two of the victims were Asian. It is currently under investigation. Violence against the Asian American community has more than doubled in Los Angeles in the last year, with seven incidents of anti-Asian hate in 2019 rising to 15 incidents in 2020.
According to LAPD Chief Michel Moore, Carlos Lopez Melendez began his shooting spree at Figueroa Street and Exposition Boulevard a little before 1 a.m. Tuesday, opening fire into a man’s car, grazing his head with a bullet. Merely ten minutes later Melendez shot into 24-year-old Alexis Carbajal’s car where he and his new wife were on line at a Starbucks drive-thru. Carbajal was killed and his wife was injured.
Within 15 minutes, the shooter arrived at 7th and Figueroa streets where he shot and killed Mingzhi Zhu, 42, an Uber driver and South Pasadena resident. Zhu had a wide and two children, an 8-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter whom he supported with his Uber driving.
A day after the tragic shooting, President Biden took to Congress, pleading with politicians to pass gun legislation. The President called the issue an American problem, rather than a partisan issue.
“I don’t want to become confrontational but we need more Senate Republicans to join with the overwhelming majority of their Democratic colleagues, and close loopholes and require background checks to purchase a gun,” Biden said.
Currently, two House-passed bills await Senate approval, which would strengthen background checks and close the ‘Charleston loophole,’ extending the time federal investigators have to conduct background checks.
“We need a ban on assault weapons and high capacity again. Don’t tell me it can’t be done. We did it before and it worked,” Biden said. “We beat the NRA. In the early 2000s, that law expired and we’ve seen the daily bloodshed since. I’m saying if the law continued, we wouldn’t see bloodshed.”
The bloodshed Biden is referring to? The 142 mass shootings – classified as any incident where four or more people are injured or killed – that have taken place in the United States since Biden’s inauguration. There were 46 mass shootings in April alone, according to Gun Violence Archive.
Biden previously called the gun violence in the United States an “epidemic and an international embarrassment,” and he has announced a number of actions which he believes will work to end the proliferation of gun-ghosts – untraceable weapons constructed from parts bought online.
The Carlos Lopez Melendez mass shooting Tuesday ignited Biden’s called for gun control reform. He awaits action by the Senate.