South LA market owner killed while defending employee during robbery

SOUTH LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The owner of a South Los Angeles mini-market was shot and killed while defending his employee during a robbery, and police are on the hunt for his killer.

LAPD officers responded to a call of shots fired at about 8 p.m. Sunday at Martinez Market in the 6500 block of S. Normandie Avenue, where they discovered the victim, Carlos Alberto Martinez, dead.

Police said the incident started as a robbery involving multiple suspects, who had their faces covered with hooded sweatshirts.

When one of the robbery suspects pointed a gun at Martinez's young employee, the 61-year-old tried to defend her and himself with a gun of his own.

Shots were fired and Martinez was killed at the scene, police said.

According to the authorities, the victim appeared to have shot and wounded one of the suspects due to a trail of blood leaving the store and suddenly disappearing, indicating the suspects may have hopped into a getaway car.

Officials said a second person died at a hospital, but it was unclear whether that victim was one of the suspects.

It was not yet known how many suspects were involved in the incident. Police were looking into surveillance video as an investigation in the deadly shooting continued.

Martinez Market was closed for the day. The location was seen with flower wreaths hanging from the store's security gate.

"He was a really nice guy, you know. He never had problems with nobody, that's why I'm kind of shocked about this," said customer and friend Nathan Kouri.
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