Hunt for California gunman spreads through West
Five wounded recovering in hospitals
August 11, 1999
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Police across the Western United States hunted Wednesday for Buford Furrow, the man suspected of walking into a Los Angeles area Jewish community center and firing more than 70 bullets from an assault-style gun before escaping.
Authorities were investigating the possibility that Tuesday's late-morning attack -- which left five people wounded -- was a hate crime. The wounded included three young boys attending day camp, a 16-year-old counselor and a 68-year-old receptionist.
The most seriously injured was a 5-year-old boy, shot in the abdomen and leg. He was in critical condition after six hours of surgery and his prognosis for recovery was fair.
Two 6-year-old boys and the teen-age counselor were in stable condition at hospitals. The receptionist, Isabelle Shalometh, was released from a hospital Tuesday night.
Furrow, 37, who reportedly has lived in California, grew up in Lacey, Washington, near the state capital of Olympia.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that his family still lives there, and neighbors said Furrow had recently been living with his parents. On Tuesday night, FBI agents visited the home of a man believed to be Furrow's father.
According to the newspaper, Furrow was released from a Seattle jail on May 21 after serving five months of a sentence for second-degree assault.
He had been arrested for attacking another person with a knife, the newspaper said.
It also reported that as recently as 1994 Furrow had lived in Rosamond, California, a town about 40 miles from the scene of Tuesday's attack at the North Valley Jewish Community Center.
The center is located in Granada Hills, in the San Fernando Valley suburbs 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
Investigators followed his trail, from the shell casings that littered the community center's lobby to the abandoned red-and-white van filled with ammunition, bulletproof vests, explosives and freeze-dried food.
Literature also found in the van was written by Richard Kelly Hoskins, a member of the American Nazi Party, according to the Los Angeles-based Simon Weisenthal Center.
The hunt for Furrow next led police to a green Toyota Corolla he was believed to have stolen and then left in front of a hotel in Chatsworth, a few miles from the community center. Police said they found weapons in the car.
Officers surrounded the hotel, but the search ended after four hours. "We were so close but still he managed to get away," Cmdr. David Kalish said.
The abandoned van, which had a Washington state license plate, was purchased Saturday in Tacoma, Washington, according to the used vehicle dealer who sold it. Kalish identified Furrow as the buyer.
Suspect identified in California shootings, hunt intensifies
The Los Angeles Police Department
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