DOWNEY − The Downey Police Department has released surveillance video of a deadly April shooting in the hope of identifying the murder suspect.
Nineteen-year-old James Lieneke was shot and killed on April 19 just before 3 a.m. on Woodruff Avenue, south of Firestone Boulevard near the Downey Elks Lodge parking lot.
The short video, which Downey police acquired from an adjacent business, shows the gunman pulling up alongside Lieneke and his two friends as they walked northbound on Woodruff Avenue.
Jumping from a dark-colored sedan, the shooter confronts Lieneke one-on-one, engaging in a quick conversation before opening fire and speeding away southbound.
Police believe the murder suspect may have known Lieneke and that he was victim of a targeted attack, but in order to garner more leads Lieutenant Mark McDaniel said the public must see the footage.
“At this juncture of the investigation, we need the public’s help,” he said in a press conference last Thursday. “We need a friend or acquaintance to come forward. Give us a call, give us a tip and we can bring this person to justice.”
Waiting patiently for closure to the case is Lieneke’s mother, Vivian, who said the loss of her only child has devastated her family.
“It doesn’t matter if you didn’t care for him, you had no right to take him from us,” she said. “He was all we had.”
Family members acknowledged that Lieneke began pulling away earlier this year, but they do not know why someone would want him dead.
“They took someone who was special and important to us. He didn’t even start living his life,” said Yvonne Gonzalez, Lieneke’s cousin. “Now his mother and father have to wake up everyday without their son.”
Sergeant Kevin McCaster of the Downey Police Department combated criticisms last week that he should have released the video footage earlier.
“We did not want to release it prematurely,” McCaster said. “We wanted to make sure we chased all leads. We felt like this was the perfect time to bring it out to the public to get further information.”
McCaster described the murder suspect as a bald-headed white or Hispanic male, approximately 5 feet, 8 inches tall and 180 pounds. Witnesses say he was wearing a white shirt and jeans.
“He’s out there enjoying his life, but James isn’t here. James isn’t here because of you,” Gonzalez said. “You need to turn yourself in.”
Anyone with information or anonymous tips regarding this crime is asked to call Downey police at (562) 904-2308 or Detective Robert Del Rio at (562) 904-2324.