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Cook murder: Video shows persons of interest

July 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Surveillance video has given authorities a possible break into the murder investigation of a cook at a restaurant in Sherman Oaks.

Video shows a man in a yellow shirt walking in to a business, followed by another man in a red shirt. Police say the camera captured the two as they entered a Panda Express on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks around 10:30 p.m. Friday. They left when the manager told them they were closing and no longer serving food.

That's when police said the two men, along with three of their friends, walked into Hoagies & Wings across the street moments later. An argument broke out and the five rowdy men uttered derogatory slurs at the restaurant cook, 38-year-old Raul Lopez.

"Rather than contacting police to escort them out, he decided to escort them out and once he gets out the front door of the restaurant he's placed in harm's way and he's shot to death within 3 feet of the front door of his restaurant," said Los Angeles Police Det. James Nuttall.

After the shooting, the persons of interest all fled in a black Cadillac Escalade. Police said they were all African Americans. They said the shooter was the smallest of the bunch, around 6-feet tall. The others were described as big men ranging between 6 feet 2 to 6 feet 6 inches tall, and around 300 pounds or more.

Homicide detectives, along with Lopez's family, made a public plea Tuesday for help in tracking down the men.

Anyone with information was urged to call Van Nuys homicide detectives at (818) 374-9500.

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