The incident happened in the victim's apartment complex on the 2000 block of Guthrie Street around 7:36 p.m. Monday. Leon Gregory McLaughlin, 38, was gunned down 50 feet away from his apartment as he and his wife returned from the grocery store.
Authorities say McLaughlin and his wife were walking up to their apartment when they were approached by a man, who spoke to the victim briefly before attempting to rob his wife. McLaughlin intervened and rushed the suspect, who then pulled out a handgun and shot the victim.
McLaughlin was rushed to Loma Linda University Medical Center, but was soon pronounced dead.
Despite the tragedy, many are calling McLaughlin's immediate reaction to protect his wife honorable. According to San Bernardino Police Lt. Paul Williams, the victim had no idea the suspect had a gun.
"It does not appear that the gun was presented prior to this. The husband, obviously from what we understand, was trying to protect his wife as any honorable man would do," Williams said.
Neighbors are rattled that tragedy struck so close to home.
"It's shocking and surprising at the same time", said neighbor Dwayne Hunt. "A lot of kids (are) around so I'm kind of ... in shock that something like that happened here."
Meantime, McLaughlin's family is left to cope with an irreplaceable loss.
"Whoever did this, it's unfortunate that you don't have respect for life and that you affected my family the way you did," said Jonathan McLaughlin, the victim's brother. "If anybody's out there with information that can lead to justice being served, we would greatly appreciate it."
The suspect was described as a black male in his 20s, 5 feet 4 inches tall and about 125 pounds. Anyone with information was urged to call the San Bernardino Police Department at (909) 384-5655.