published Sunday, July 13th, 2014

California triple homicide believed to be tenant dispute

PASADENA, Calif. — A man is accused of shooting and killing three people Saturday in what authorities are investigating as a possible tenant-landlord dispute, police said.

John Izeal Smith, 35, opened fire on police officers with a rifle before barricading himself inside a home in the Los Angeles suburb of Pasadena, said police Lt. Ed Calatayud. Smith called police, and a dispatcher persuaded him to leave the home unarmed and surrender to authorities.

Smith is suspected of killing a woman inside a home late in the afternoon, then killing two others outside, said Calatayud. Two others suffered minor to moderate injuries.

Police responded to calls of gunfire on the warm, sunny afternoon and came under heavy attack themselves as they approached one of the victims outside, Calatayud said. They sought cover and their cars were struck with bullets. No officers were killed or injured.

"It all transpired within minutes," Calatayud said. "It was a very dynamic, scary situation all the way around."

The victims' names were not released. Calatayud said he didn't know if or how the victims were related to the suspect.

One killed was a man who ran to the scene to help, said Lisa Derderian, a spokeswoman for the Pasadena Fire Department. Bullets struck two police cars, she said.

The police dispatcher and a crisis negotiator were on the phone with Smith for at least 20 minutes after he barricaded himself in the same home where the woman was killed, Derderian said.

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