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Compton robbery suspect dies of heart attack

April 6, 2010 12:30:12 AM PDT
A suspect who was arrested after a deadly double shooting at a Compton auto shop died of an apparent heart attack in a patrol car on Monday.After suffering the heart attack, he was taken by ambulance to Gardena Memorial Hospital, where he died.

Authorities said the suspect and five others are responsible for shooting three men who were just hanging out with friends and watching a basketball game at Custom City Auto Sales and Accessories on Long Beach Boulevard and Palmer Street.

Eyewitness News spoke exclusively to one of the survivors.

"I saw him get shot, two shots to the head," said Shawn Simon. He is among several people who were lucky to survive a violent armed robbery that left two men dead.

"I lost two good friends, good citizens, good people," he said.

Simon said he and a group of friends were watching the game when six armed men stormed into the building. The suspects stole watches and wallets from the victims before opening fire, killing two and sending a third to the hospital.

Simon said he knew the next bullet would have been meant for him.

"I had to play dead," he said. "They grabbed my arm, dropped it and reached over, climbed over me, assumed that I was dead."

Simon said the suspects then got to his friend, who panicked and gave away his cover.

"I assume they had no bullets because he took the ski mask off to see his face, and he didn't shoot," he said.

The suspects fled in a green minivan, but it wasn't long before authorities caught up with them. After a short pursuit, the vehicle stopped, and the suspects ran. Five were caught soon after, and a sixth was tracked down by a K-9 unit.

Friends and family of the victims struggled to come to terms with their loss on Tuesday.

"These are good people, public service people, people who actually do stuff for the community, and it's just crazy that it had to happen like this," said Jomo Henderson, a friend.

Authorities are unsure why the business was targeted.

"This is one of those times where a legitimate businessman who appears to have nothing to do with the gang life or anything like that is a victim," said L.A. County Sheriff's Lt. Mike Rosson.

Authorities said the third shooting victim underwent surgery, but there's no word yet on his condition.