7-Eleven clerk killed in Highland Park robbery

HIGHLAND PARK, LOS ANGELES

The shooting happened around 10:30 p.m. on the 5100 block of North Figueroa Street. According to investigators, two men entered the store and pretended to be customers. Gonzalo Garcia, 31, was working the late shift.

"We had two male blacks that entered the store and they attempted to rob the clerk, and they jumped over the counter, and at that point the clerk tried to escape, and they shot him," said LAPD Lt. Patricia Sandoval.

About 40 minutes before the robbery and shooting, another 7-Eleven was robbed about three miles away, on the 3200 block of Broadway in Lincoln Heights.

Police believe two suspects entered that 7-Eleven and robbed the store, but no one was injured. They said the robberies were similar, but they are still trying to determine if they are related.

Investigators were examining surveillance video from both locations. Police described the suspects in the Highland Park robbery as two black men between the ages of 25 to 30 years old. There was no vehicle seen.

Garcia leaves behind a 5-year-old daughter. His cousin, Virginia McCowan, says Garcia was working two jobs to help support his family in Mexico and daughter here in Los Angeles.

"That was his world. Every time he spoke about her, like sunshine, just smiling from ear to ear. Loved her very much," said McCowan. "When she was born, that was the best gift that anybody could have ever given him."

Anyone with information about the robberies was asked to call Los Angeles Police at (877) LAPD-24-7.

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