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3 men sought in shooting of 98 Cent Store owner

December 21, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A downtown Los Angeles store owner was robbed and shot right in front of his family Monday at approximately 4:10 p.m. The victim was clinging to life Monday night while three gunmen remained on the loose. Police are hoping that surveillance video will help them track down three suspects. Police said all three men are gang members. The man they shot is 72 years old. He was on life support at a local hospital late Monday night. Police said he was likely shot trying to resist one of the suspects. He was shot once in the back of the head, right in front of his wife.

Outside the 98 Cent Store off Venice Boulevard and South Hoover Street, detectives try to sort out how and why the elderly owner inside was so violently attacked. It was late Monday afternoon when three armed men walked into the business and demanded money.

"During that robbery, it went 'sideways.' Therefore, one of the suspects pulled out a gun from his waistband and he fired a round at what we believe is the owner of the store and hit him one time in the back of the head," said LAPD Lt. Joe Losorelli.

Police say the victim's wife and two adult children were all inside the store at the time.

"The incident happened in front of the wife. She was at the front counter with her husband when the suspects walk in," said Losorelli. "When the round was fired inside the store, the sons, who were in the back of the store, were in the back office doing some accounting work. They heard the shot and came out to find their dad laying on the ground."

As the victim was rushed to a local hospital, news of what happened to the nice old man that ran this dollar store spread throughout the neighborhood.

"There was a lady that was crying when I told her that the guy got robbed. She was crying. She told me he used to give her credit every time she didn't have enough money to buy something," said Christian Nieto, who works next door to the store.

The search is now on for the suspects. They were last seen running away on foot.

Police are asking for the public's help. If you have information related to this case, you're asked to call the LAPD at (877) 527-3247 (LAPD-24-7).


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