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Suspect in Slaying Kills Himself

Studio City: Man takes his own life after holding police at bay for 3 1/2 hours in gas station.

July 05, 2001|KARIMA A. HAYNES and PATRICIA WARD BIEDERMAN | 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 the primary suspect in the shooting death Sunday of his stepfather, Dwight Albert Zink of Escondido, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

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

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's seat. As officers approached the car, 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 into the station store, Minsal said.

The cashier left the store unharmed and there were no customers in the store, said Jackie Morgan, who witnessed the incident from her apartment building that overlooks the station.

Police quickly sealed off the area. "There were dozens of policemen," Morgan said. "They kept yelling into bullhorns, 'You're surrounded. Please come out.' "

At 5:05 p.m., after a 3 1/2-hour standoff, police shot tear gas into the station, Frank said, but Kiefer remained inside. 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 the 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 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 for the slaying.

Kiefer-Zink could not be reached at either of the couple's residences Wednesday night.

Sgt. Don Crist of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said Kiefer was a transient who split his time between Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties.

*

Times staff writer Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson contributed to this story.

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