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Video of Palmdale shooting suspect released

April 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Surveillance video of a gunman wanted for killing a jewelry store owner in Palmdale during a robbery was released Friday by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.Mario Tovar, 59, was shot to death at around 2:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Palmdale Jewelry Mart on Palmdale Boulevard and 27th Street.

The suspect was described as a black man in his early 20s, who wore dark clothing and a gray baseball-style cap. His image is on the surveillance video, along with the images of two other men who are wanted for questioning as "persons of interest," according to the sheriff's department.

It's hard to make out his face, but authorities still hope someone will recognize the suspect and come forward.

The video first shows two men standing at the front door, waiting for the owner to unlock it. One of the two men walks into the store and leaves seconds later. Both men are considered persons of interest at this time.

The suspect is then seen entering the store. Homicide detectives said he looked at the merchandise then made his way to the back of the store, where he allegedly shot and killed Tovar. The suspect then stole the keys from Tovar to unlock the gate and flee the jewelry store.

Detectives are investigating whether or not the suspect and the two persons of interest were working together to rob the store Wednesday afternoon.

"Sheriff's homicide detectives are looking into every possible aspect right now, that's why they're considered persons of interest. We don't know if they were linked to the actual suspect or not," said Nicole Nishida, a spokesperson for the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.

Another employee was inside the store and witnessed the shooting.

Tovar owned the store for about a year and had worked for the previous owner for about 19 years. Family members told Eyewitness News that two men had confronted Tovar over the weekend. They stole his gun, beat him and threatened to kill him.

If you have any information regarding the case or if you recognize the men seen in the surveillance video, you're urged to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff's homicide division at (323) 890-5500.


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