Siddiqi died on the scene. Crane survived his wounds and is currently in critical condition.
Crane is a Beverly Hills realtor. His social media accounts are filled with pictures of opulent gifts and sprawling mansions. He claimed to be deeply connected to the entertainment industry, boasting that he used to work for Disney and Warner Brothers as a child actor.
Siddiqi and Crane were divorced at the time of the shooting, but as recently as December Siddiqi posted pictures of the couple on Facebook.
“We have known each other for a long time and I will never forget your beautiful smile and your contagious laugh!” a friend of Siddiqi’s wrote on Facebook.
“You were taken way too early and my heart goes out to your family and your beautiful boys in this time.”
The mall was bursting with customers when Crane launched his attack. Terrified shoppers caused a panic when they heard the gunshots.
“All of a sudden we heard people screaming,” a witness told the Thousand Oaks Acorn. “We saw everyone running toward the food court so I just freaked out… My whole body was shaking and my heart was racing… I was really very terrified for sure.”
Local authorities quickly realized that the attack was a domestic violence incident. However, their efforts were clouded by conflicting reports. Frightened shoppers told 911 operators that they heard more shots than there were.
People were terrified that there might have been a mass shooting underway.
“In the chaos and confusion, conflicting pieces of information prompted responding officers to think an active shooter was on the scene until we got in there and sorted things out,” said Sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Buschow.
Investigators now believe that they have a clear idea of what happened. Crane arrived at the mall around 2:10 p.m. He walked directly to the Paper Source, the store where Siddiq worked, and immediately began firing.
The first 911 call was recorded at 2:17 p.m.
Police haven’t been able to find evidence of previous domestic violence incidents. Crane’s record is squeaky-clean. There were no negative reports about him domestically or professionally.
That doesn’t mean that they didn’t occur, however. A lot of domestic violence victims are too ashamed or frightened to report their abusers.
“Those closest to her said that she had mentioned that his behavior was odd and that she was concerned about his behavior and that he had made some threats towards her… He did not make a specific threat to shoot her,” the sheriff said.
According to the FBI, nearly 70 percent of murder-suicides involve prior violent warning signs.
“It is not always the case that people report it, especially when children are involved,” Kelly Wellman, a former FBI agent and current assistant professor of criminal justice at Ventura College, said.
Domestic violence cases are notoriously difficult to prosecute. They’re troubling because they often escalate, but police are sometimes powerless to do anything in the meantime. It’s very hard to bring a domestic violence case to court without the victim’s cooperation.
“They have units for homicide, robbery, and drugs,” Former Baltimore prosecutor Debbie Hines said. “And the fact that there’s generally not units for DV (domestic violence) speaks to the little regard that officers frequently have for the cases.”
There was nothing that officers could do to save Siddiqi. If Crane indicated that he had a violent streak, Siddiqi never shared that with police.
If Crane had been arrested for domestic violence he would have lost the right to have a gun.
“When a perpetrator has been arrested for domestic violence, we believe their firearms should be taken away,” said Monica McLaughlin, deputy director of Public Policy at the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
“What we know is that guns and domestic violence are a deadly combination… When perpetrators have access to guns, survivors are in much more danger.”
Paper Source issued at a statement Sunday.
“All of us at Paper Source are sadden(ed) by the loss (of) our beloved colleague and team member,” the company wrote. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, and most of all her two children, through this difficult time.”
Crane is still in critical condition. The couple’s two children are being cared for by a family member. If he survives, he’s at risk of spending the rest of his life in jail.