Brea Police Department Counters Social Media Criticism Over Murder Case

Brea Police Department Counters Social Media Criticism Over Murder CaseEXPAND
Nick Bockelman/OC Weekly

It took less than 24 hours for a Moreno Valley man to be arrested in the fatal shooting a 44-year-old Brea man Saturday morning, according to a Brea Police Department statement that includes a defense of the way information on the case was trickled out to the public.

Brea Police officers responding to reports of a shooting found Alex Lin suffering from multiple gunshot wounds around 9:30 a.m. Saturday as he was lying on the ground of the parking structure next to the Target store in the busy Brea Marketplace, 855 W. Birch St.

"It is believed that the homicide of Mr. Lin occurred during the commission of a robbery," reads the Brea PD statement, which came after an earlier one announced the reopening of the parking structure that had been closed for hours due to the investigation.

Homicide detectives from Brea and Fullerton worked some as-yet released information that led them to suspect the killer was 22-year-old Thomas Allen Jenkins III, whose Riverside County home was searched overnight by the North County SWAT team comprised of officers from Brea, Placentia, Fullerton, La Habra, La Palma and Cal State Fullerton.

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Jenkins was arrested about 6:30 a.m. Sunday, according to Brea Police, and booked into the county jail on suspicion of murder.

The statement explaining the details of the case brings up social media criticism that reportedly claimed police were not doing enough to let the public know whether they were safe with a killer at large.

"This investigation into this crime stretched across two counties, involved the writing of lengthy search warrants, the collection of a large amount of evidence, and a lot of effort from a group of men and women who wanted to see that the killer of Mr. Lin was quickly caught," reads the Brea PD statement.

"We have been criticized over social media for not providing more specific details regarding this crime. We believe in transparency and two-way communication and work hard to put out the timeliest information that we can. Our first postings regarding this crime occurred approximately 80 minutes after the shooting. We updated Twitter, Facebook, and Next Door with updates throughout the day.

"There are many reasons we cannot release all of the details of a crime during the critical investigation phase. The most pressing reason is that we do not want to compromise the case, and alert the suspect(s) about all that we are aware of. In essence, we do not want them to know we are closing in, and perhaps destroy evidence and flee the Southern California area.

"In this case we knew the suspect had left the area in a vehicle and was no longer in the general area of the crime. That is why we related that we did not think there was a threat to the local public. We also will not release the description of a suspect that is so vague it will do no one any good. In this case it would have been, 'a male in a hooded sweatshirt.' We also could not release the motive any earlier than today as that would have told the suspect we knew what led up to the shooting, and that we were not still in the dark as to what had occurred."

The statement ends with a commitment to keep the public safe, a thank you to everyone who supported the investigation and condolences to Lin’s family and friends.


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