[UPDATED with Jeremy Lewis Death Deemed Random:] Ali Syed Left Suicide Note in Ladera Ranch Home Indicating Rampage Was Planned
See Update No. 2 at the end of this post on police now saying construction worker Jeremy Lewis' death was random.
See Update No. 1 on investigators exploring whether Ali Syed lured Lewis to the place where he was shot to death.
ORIGINAL POST, MARCH 1, 12:16 P.M.: Ali Syed, the 20-year-old accused of murdering a woman in his parents' Ladera Ranch home before taking off on a freeway rampage that resulted in three more deaths including his own, left behind a suicide note, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
"Within the note were indications that the events Ali Syed was responsible for were premeditated and planned," reads a sheriff's department statement.
Investigators say Sheriff's and the Orange County Regional Computer Forensics Lab investigators found the document titled "Suicide Note" on Syed's desktop computer in his bedroom, according to the statement.
It was created on Feb. 19 within an hour of the 9-1-1 call from Syed's parents that led to the discovery of 20-year-old Courtney Aoki's body in their son's bedroom, according to deputies.
"Although this investigation will continue, to date, Orange County Sheriff's Homicide Investigators have not found any prior connection/relationship between Syed and any of his victims," the statement concludes.
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UPDATE NO. 1, MARCH 4, 4:02 P.M.: Ali Syed may have lured construction worker Jeremy Lewis to the place where he was murdered, according to homicide investigators.
According to court documents The Orange County Register claims to have examined, Tustin Police Detective Colton Kirwan wrote in the affidavit that Lewis, the third and final victim Syed is accused of killing before taking his own life, was sitting in his Nissan pickup next to where his construction crew co-workers were around 5:40 a.m. on Feb. 19 when he received a phone call.
"I'll be there in a minute," Lewis is said to have told the caller before backing up his pickup and driving to a nearby parking lot, where Syed and his shotgun were waiting for him. Syed, 20, had Lewis get out of the truck and back up so the vehicle could be carjacked, but the construction worker later started running and was shot twice, Kirwan wrote.
The affidavit states phone logs on Syed and Lewis' cell phones support the idea Lewis was lured, and text messages, photos and other evidence from the mobiles show the victim knew the gunman. Lewis, 26, had recently moved to Fullerton from Morongo Valley, according to his Facebook profile.
Tustin police, who have not yet revealed if or how Syed knew his first victim, 20-year-old Courtney Aoki of Buena Park, also explain at this point in the investigation they are withholding how Lewis and the gunman knew each other. The second victim, Melvin Lee Edwards, 69 of Laguna Hills, was by all accounts a random target.
UPDATE NO. 2, MARCH 6, 7 A.M.: Tustin Police are now back to saying the fatal shooting of Jeremy Lewis was a random act.
"At this point in the investigation, there does not appear to be any relationship between Lewis and Syed and the murder appears to have been a random act of violence," reads a statement from Tustin Police Lt. Paul Garaven.
The notion that Syed called Lewis before the construction worker's death was based on a witness statement, according to Garaven. Though the court affidavit covered in the previous update indicated cell phone logs supported the possibility of a call between the two, the spokesman now states, "Investigators have reviewed the records and have determined there were no phone calls made between Syed and Lewis prior to this incident."
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