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Archive for Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Police look for clues to shooter’s motive

March 5, 2008

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— Recordings of 911 calls made as a gunman rampaged through a fast-food restaurant capture the screams, moans and banging that ensued after he killed a paramedic at the counter and fired at panicked customers.

A surveillance video shows gunman Alburn Edward Blake entering the Wendy's restaurant during the lunch rush Monday and going straight to the bathroom, authorities said Tuesday. He emerged minutes later to fatally shoot Lt. Rafael Vazquez, who had gone back into the restaurant to exchange a kid's meal toy his child had received.

Blake then fired about 20 additional shots - more than there were people in the entire restaurant - wounding four others, authorities said. The 911 tapes recorded the sounds made as customers frantically called for help. Patrons screamed and dived for cover as the gunman fired.

"Then you can see him return to the center of the restaurant where he shoots himself in the head and takes his own life," said Capt. Jack Strenges of the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. "He stood silent the whole time."

Authorities say they are no closer to determining what set off Blake, a 60-year-old handyman from Jamaica who lived in West Palm Beach.

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