Andrew Blankstein and David Pierson of the LA Times reported:
A rifleman angered by a custody dispute with his ex-girlfriend opened fire Saturday at a parish school festival in Granada Hills this morning, wounding the woman and two other fair-goers before being tackled by bystanders and arrested by an off-duty police officer, authorities said.
Witnesses described scenes of terror and panic as the man nonchalantly brandished a .22-caliber rifle made to look like an M-16 assault rifle and fired into booths at the fair.
The shooting took place shortly before the 11 a.m. start of the festival on a baseball field on the grounds of the St. John Baptist de la Salle church and school at Chatsworth Street and Hayvenhurst Avenue, authorities said.
Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Steven Ruiz said Fernando Diaz Jr., 33, arrived at the festival and sought out his 9-year-old son, who attends the school, and his estranged girlfriend, who were both near a booth in center field.
Diaz “walks up carrying a tennis bag on his shoulder, puts it down, embraces his child, and then removes the rifle from the bag and aims it” at his ex-girlfriend, Ruiz said. “He fires multiple rounds, hitting her and two others. People were screaming, running and ducking for cover.”
He is being held in lieu of $1.5-million bail at the LAPD Van Nuys station on suspicion of three counts of attempted murder.
The ex-girlfriend, 29, was shot in the arm and was listed in stable condition.
A 45-year-old man who was shot in the leg and a 43-year-old man who was shot in the chest also were in stable condition. The victims were not identified, Ruiz said.
Diaz was subdued by half a dozen bystanders after he appeared to have difficulty firing his weapon, he said.
“He either had to change out his [clip] or his gun may have jammed,” Ruiz said. “That was when people jumped on him.”
One of the first to tackle the man was Jeff Sempelsz, whose son attends the school. Sempelsz was hanging prizes at his coin-toss booth, waiting for the parish priest to bless the event, when he heard the gunshots.
What’s up with people that they blow up so easily nowadays, shooting innocent people, and going crazy!? God help our society. We need to return to morality, the 10 commandments (i.e., Thou shall not kill), and uphold the sanctity of human life.
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