A manhunt continued Wednesday for two or three men in the shooting death of a 29-year-old plumber during an apparent road rage incident in Anaheim, police said.
The men eluded police, search dogs and helicopters during a late-night search Tuesday in a sealed-off neighborhood. Detectives followed leads and interviewed dozens of witnesses Wednesday, and asked for the public's help in finding the men.
"Investigators have been working the entire day tirelessly to find these guys," said Anaheim Police Sgt. Rick Martinez. "We urge anyone who knows something to call us. We know there were a lot of people on the roadway who may have seen something."
The shooter's car -- a black Honda that was found a short distance from the shooting scene -- had not been reported stolen, and investigators are processing it for fingerprints and other clues, officials said.
During the 6 1/2-hour search Tuesday, bloodhounds traced one scent about four blocks but the trail disappeared near a home. The search of the residential area turned up nothing.
Police said the incident began on the southbound Orange Freeway about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday when one car cut off another. A brief chase ensued between the black Honda and a gray Mustang before the drivers pulled off the freeway at Orangewood Avenue. The cars headed west about four blocks, at which point a passenger in the Mustang, identified as Michael Decker of Orange, got out at a red light to confront the people in the Honda, police said.
Family members said Decker and his stepbrother, Ryan Keil, 22, of Orange, were about a mile from their home when the shooting occurred. The men were heading home from work when they crossed paths with the Honda, said Keith Keil, Ryan's father.
Ryan Keil had tried to avoid the confrontation by exiting the freeway but the Honda driver followed and parked next to them and pulled out a gun, Keith Keil said.
He said Decker walked to the Honda to protect his brother from getting hurt.
As Decker stood in the middle of the street, a passenger inside the Honda fired numerous shots, striking him several times, police said. He was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where he died.
"It was pretty bold, considering [the shooting] occurred during heavy traffic, in broad daylight and in the middle of the street," Martinez said.
The Honda sped east on Orangewood Avenue. Ryan Keil gave chase, eventually rear-ending the Honda near Eckhoff Street and Sycamore Avenue, prompting the occupants to flee on foot.
"My wife saw it on the news and she knew right away it was Michael," Keith Keil said. "He wouldn't let anything happen to Ryan. They were inseparable."
They worked together as plumbers at an Anaheim company. Ryan Keil, reserved and shy, "has been traumatized because he saw everything that happened," his father said. He was too distraught to talk.
Decker had a temper and would often defend his brother during altercations, his father said.
"Michael can get mad," Keith Keil said. "If he didn't have a temper, he'd be alive today."