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2 Murder Suspects Flee After Foiled Robbery

August 29, 1994|LEN HALL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

HUNTINGTON BEACH — Two men wanted for questioning in a murderous crime spree remained at large Sunday, a day after they shot at a man during a bungled purse snatching at a Huntington Beach supermarket, authorities said.

The men, described as about 30 years old, are suspects in at least two killings, two auto thefts and a house burglary in addition to the purse snatching, according to authorities in Arizona and Huntington Beach.

They were last seen in Huntington Beach Saturday night speeding away from the bungled robbery in a 1989 silver and blue Dodge Ram Charger with Arizona license plate LBV044, police said.

About 6:35 p.m. Saturday, one of the suspects--wearing a red baseball cap--snatched a purse from a woman's shopping cart in the Hughes Market on Algonquin Street and ran out of the store, police said.

A witness, a 40-year-old Huntington Beach man, ran after the man, who dropped the purse but fired three shots with a pistol before driving off in the Ram Charger with his accomplice, police said.

The local man was not hurt.

Tracing the Ram Charger has led police to suspect the men might have been involved in several other serious crimes over the past few days. The Ram Charger was stolen sometime either early Saturday or Friday from murder victims Joseph and Charlene Babcock, who lived in a rural home about 20 miles east of Kingman, Ariz., authorities said.

The Babcocks were shot in the head, said Kay Claborn, a dispatcher with the Mohave County Sheriff's Department. Charlene Babcock was found inside her home, her husband outside in a wash on rural Silver Springs Road, about 3 1/2 miles north of Interstate 40, Claborn said.

Police believe Joseph Babcock had stopped to help the two suspects, whose car had run aground in the wash, and was later shot, Claborn said. The suspects then apparently drove the Ram Charger to the Babcock home where they shot Charlene Babcock and burglarized another home nearby, Claborn said.

Police found Joseph Babcock about 8 a.m. Saturday lying next to the suspects' grounded vehicle, a 1994 Dodge listed as stolen from Missouri, Claborn said. The owner of the stolen Dodge is also missing.

One of the suspects is listed as 6 feet 2 inches tall with a thin beard and mustache. The other is thin with a "transient-like" appearance, police said. Both are white.

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