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Son of auto wrecking yard owner accused of killing 4, including father; motive unclear
Junk Yard Killings 5240725
This police booking photo released by the Santa Barbara County, Calif., Sheriff's Department, Wednesday, March 19, 2008, shows Lee Leeds, 31, who was arrested for investigation of fatally shooting four men at an auto wrecking yard in Santa Maria, Calif., on Tuesday. - photo by Associated Press
    SANTA MARIA, Calif. — The gunman who opened fire at an auto wrecking yard killed his father, who owned the business, and three others before dropping the weapon and trying to flee over a fence, police said Wednesday.
    Panicked customers fled the busy yard Tuesday as the gunman shot his victims at close range, police said. The shootings were ‘‘very deliberate’’ and the suspect likely reloaded at least once, police Chief Danny Macagni said.
    Lee Isaac Bedwell Leeds, 31, of Santa Maria, was booked for investigation of murder and was held without bail. It wasn’t known if Leeds had retained an attorney.
    Leeds was involved in some type of dispute with at least one of the victims, but police had no further insight into his motive because he refused to talk to detectives, Macagni said at a news conference.
    Witnesses said they saw Leeds enter Black Road Auto on the outskirts of Santa Maria, about 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles, around 4 p.m. Tuesday. They said he was armed with a semi-automatic handgun and shot his father, 66-year-old Robert Leeds, once in the chest.
    ‘‘He apparently did this without provocation,’’ Macagni said.
    The suspect then walked through the junk yard and shot two other people multiple times before striking a fourth victim in the back of the business, Macagni said.
    The other victims were Terry Edward Majan, 37, an employee at the yard, and Richard Cardenas Leal, 33, a customer. A fourth victim, also an employee, was not identified because next of kin had not been notified, Macagni said.
    In all, 17 shots were fired in the attack, he said.
    ‘‘There were a lot of customers on the property, and they were running outside,’’ police Lt. Dan Ast said. ‘‘It was a pretty chaotic situation.’’
    One of the victims found outside still had a pulse, Ast said. While police searched for the gunman, officers escorted paramedics onto the property to treat the victim, but he did not survive, Ast said.
    Ast told reporters late Tuesday that the gunman ‘‘took off running, tried to get over a fence and was captured.’’ The gunman discarded a handgun before he was taken into custody, and it was found later, police said.
    A phone message left for the Santa Barbara County district attorney’s office wasn’t immediately returned.
    There was no telephone listing for a Lee Leeds in Santa Maria. A man who answered the phone at another residence under the name Leeds hung up when a reporter called seeking comment.

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