LOS ANGELES—A maniac armed with an assault rifle strolled up a residential block near a polling station at a gymnasium in Azusa and unloaded. A score of voters queued outside fled for their lives.
The male assailant shot three people, one fatally, authorities confirmed, before barricading himself inside a house where he has been confirmed by the L.A. Sheriff’s Department to be deceased after an almost four-hour standoff with SWAT team and police.
Hector Campos lives next door to the house on West Fourth Street and spoke to The Daily Beast two hours after gunfire erupted next door.
Campos was 50 yards away and noticed about 25 people waiting in line to cast their ballots on Election Day when he saw them “all dispersed” and taking cover at around 2 p.m. when the shooter fired 10 shots from “an assault rifle with rapid fire capability,” according to police.
The next door neighbor said he skipped breaths when the assailant fired.
“I could hear the shots that went like boom-boom, boom-boom, boom-boom, boom-boom with breaks in between,” he said.
Then came the screams.
“It was so scary when a woman outside there was screaming so loud,” he said.
Campos says he managed to direct a young girl and her mother to take cover while they apparently were frozen during the gunfire outside.
“I went outside and saw a little girl with her mom and told them ‘Go back inside. It’s not safe out here,’” he said.
Within “more than five minutes” Campos says he witnessed a group of police arrive in armor and proceed to engage in a shootout with the gunman who had taken shelter in a home.
“They fired maybe 10 rounds at the house,” he said of the police, who Campos witnessed returning fire with “powerful rifles.”
“Then the cops yelled, ‘Everybody go back inside,’” the 57-year-old retired supervisor said he was told and complied. He said a SWAT team arrived shortly after and all has been quiet since.
Azusa Police Chief Steve Hunt held a press conference confirming that there are seven tactical units on-scene and that the arriving five Azusa officers and another from Irwindale were “pinned down for a period of time” before backup arrived and “engaged in gunfire with the suspect.”
The shooter remains holed up in a house.
The shooter was believed to be holed up in a house until around after 6 p.m. when authorities confirmed he was neutralized.
Two survivors, believed to be female, were rushed to area hospitals where Azusa cops say their condition “remains unknown at this time.” Chief Hunt noted that that they also believe there is another person “down at the front door” but that person’s condition was also unknown.
Meanwhile, the next door neighbor is grieving the loss of the man who police have identified as 67-year-old Roberto Chavez.
Chavez was apparently sitting on his porch before the fusillade was fired by the unknown shooter.
Campos, who has lived on the block near Memorial Park for more than two decades said Chavez was a longtime neighbor as well and they shared a common affliction together.
“I saw him this weekend while I was barbecuing,” Campos said. “We talked about Parkinson’s Disease. I have Parkinson’s and he had it longer than me.
“His Parkinson’s was worse,” Campos said. “It’s very invisible compared to mine is; I can still walk pretty good and drive sometimes.’
He said Chavez also was fighting a bout with diabetes, but lived happily with his wife after retiring as a welder years back.
“Not him, it can’t be,” Campos said. “I’m really surprised.”