A story for every victim

Michael Ronald Meeker, 39

Michael Meeker, a 39-year-old white man, was shot and killed Sunday, Aug. 22, in the 4000 block of West 242nd Street in Torrance, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.

Residents of an apartment complex reported hearing gunshots about 3:40 p.m., Torrance police Sgt. Jeremiah Hart said. Officers arrived three minutes later to find Meeker, who had been shot more than once, in the courtyard. He died at the scene.

Because witnesses said they didn’t see the suspect — described as a middle-aged Latino — leave the complex, police assumed he was still there.

Officers picked their way through the sprawling, block-long complex, some using bullhorns to try to contact the alleged assailant, Hart said. A crisis negotiating team was also on scene.

Residents remained locked in their homes during the operation, as they had been for much of the day. Police officials placed reverse 911 calls to residents after the shooting and ordered them to stay indoors.

By evening, SWAT teams secured the apartment complex and early Monday morning found the body of the alleged shooter, identified by the coroner's office as Renzo Ramon Estrella, a 46-year-old white man from Torrance. Estrella, found in his room, died of  a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.

Estrella was a resident of the complex, Hart said, but his connection to the victim was unclear.

Because the suspected shooter was not immediately found in the courtyard, police were forced to get a warrant before they began searching inside the apartment, Hart said.

The circumstances surrounding the shooting are still being investigated.

[Note: This homicide did not appear on a coroner's report several weeks ago. It was added Sept. 7, 2010, after the coroner's office alerted the Times about the addition.]

-- Julie Cart, Robert Faturechi and Sarah Ardalani

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