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Los Angeles

Suicide Ends Police Standoff

Violence: The man, suspected of slaying his stepfather in Escondido, had led pursuers to a gas station in Studio City.

July 05, 2001|PATRICIA WARD BIEDERMAN and KARIMA A. HAYNES | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

A 41-year-old San Diego County man, wanted in the slaying of his 72-year-old stepfather, fatally shot himself Wednesday after leading police on a 35-minute chase and then holding them off at a Studio City gas station for several hours, police said.

Perry Kiefer was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound inside the station at Vineland Avenue and Ventura Boulevard, LAPD Lt. Horace Frank said. No other injuries were reported.

Kiefer was suspected in the Sunday shooting death of his stepfather, Dwight Albert Zink of Escondido, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said.

Sheriff's deputies were pursuing leads that Kiefer may have been in the Los Angeles area and asked Los Angeles police for help, said Lt. Ivan Minsal of the LAPD.

LAPD officers went to a house in the 6200 block of Babcock Avenue, where Kiefer was known to have lived in the past, police said. Zink's 2000 Toyota Avalon was parked a few houses away. The passenger door was open and a man was sitting in the passenger seat.

As officers approached, the man got into the driver's seat and sped away, leading police on a chase that ended at the gas station. There, Kiefer jumped out of the car and ran inside the station store, Minsal said.

The cashier left the store unharmed and there were no customers in the store at the time, said Jackie Morgan, who saw the incident from her apartment building. Police immediately sealed off the area.

At 5:05 p.m., after a 3 1/2-hour standoff, police shot tear gas into the station, Frank said. SWAT officers entered 15 minutes later.

"We went in and found him dead as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound," Frank said.

The apparent suicide ended a search that began Sunday after Zink's body was discovered in his Escondido home.

The victim's wife, Peggy Kiefer-Zink, who was at the couple's Maryland home, had called a friend to check on her husband. When the neighbor reported to Kiefer-Zink that her son was in the Zink home, Kiefer-Zink became alarmed, telling the neighbor that her son wasn't supposed to be in the residence, police said.

Zink was shot more than once, and deputies who responded found the home in disarray and blood in several rooms, police said. Police did not provide a motive.

Kiefer was an unemployed transient, according to Sgt. Don Crist of the San Diego Sheriff's Department.

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Times staff writer Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson contributed to this report.

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