Homicide detective: Fatal gun club shooting was self-inflicted

Scene at the Oak Tree Gun Club on the night of Sept. 6 at the time of the shooting. photo by Austin Dave, The Signal.

The young man who took a quiet Uber ride to the Oak Tree Gun Club in Santa Clarita, bought some ammunition, rented a shotgun, fired off some rounds, walked back to the club and shot himself.

“It appears he ended his own life,” Det. Tim O’Quinn of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Homicide Bureau told The Signal Friday.

The deceased man was described by O’Quinn as a “male, black, in his 20s.”

“An Uber driver called us saying he remembered taking him there to the gun club from the (San Fernando) Valley,” O’Quinn told The Signal Friday.

Conversation inside the Uber vehicle was relaxed with no overt indication of suicidal plans, he said.

“There were some odd statements, however,” O’Quinn said. “He said something like ‘If I live beyond the next year’ and things like that.  But, nothing to warrant concern.”

That said, O’Quinn called the self-inflicted shooting, “pre-planned.”

“He bought some ammunition and rented a shotgun,” he said. “He walked away with a box of ammunition.  When he came back, he walked towards the (gun club) building and turned the gun on himself.”

Gun Club staffers were yards away at the time of the shooting, O’Quinn said.

“The way it occurred, it appears to have been self-inflicted, not an accident,” he said, noting he is waiting for the official determination about the cause of death from the coroner.

The man’s identity is not expected to be revealed to public before Monday, however, Lt. David Smith of the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said Friday.

Smith noted that investigators were still trying to contact the deceased man’s family out of state on Friday.

Shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday, emergency response crews were called to the Oak Tree Gun Club on Coltrane Avenue in Newhall, between Weldon and Mountain Way, on the west side of Interstate 5, for reports of a gunshot injury.

“The initial call was for a gunshot wound to the head,” a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department told The Signal Thursday.

Paramedics got the call at 9:05 p.m. and arrived at the gun club at 9:16 p.m., the Fire Department spokesman said.

The gunshot victim was pronounced dead at the scene.


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