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ORANGE COUNTY DIGEST

SANTA ANA : Caterer Killed, Suspect Shot in Robbery Attempt

November 16, 1986

Augustine Cardenas had parked his catering truck so often at 5th and North Jackson streets in Santa Ana that it had become a Friday night ritual. Not only the customers across the street at the bar, but everyone in the neighborhood knew he would be there to dispense snacks, police said.

At 2:15 a.m. Saturday, the bar had closed and Cardenas, 44, of Santa Ana and his two employees were closing down, too, when a man approached the driver's window of the truck, aimed at handgun at Cardenas and demanded money, police said.

Cardenas fought instead, and according to police, the struggle between the two men took them into the street, where a bullet hit Cardenas in the chest.

Cardenas struggled back to the car, but the attacker returned, still demanding money and still threatening with his handgun. At that point, police said, one of the employees reached into the truck, pulled out a pistol and fired one shot into the robbery suspect's head.

Cardenas was dead on arrival at the UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange.

Rudy Vegas Jr., 26, of Santa Ana, arrested as the suspected robber, was admitted to the hospital in serious condition.

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