A Bel-Air divorce lawyer was hospitalized in stable condition Monday after he was shot in the chest during a struggle with two armed robbers outside his home.
Marv Gross, 60, who was admitted to UCLA Medical Center, told police that two men attacked him Sunday night after he briefly left his five-story residence to fetch a purse that his wife had left in their car.
Police said Gross may have been saved by the reflexive act of trying to slam the carport door on his attackers. "He was alert enough to be suspicious of the men who approached him and was able to react," West Los Angeles Police Detective Robert Tapia said.
Gross' wife, Joy, 60, said that the two of them returned home about 9 p.m. after dining at a Westside restaurant with their daughter, Jamie, and Bruce Dawson, a family friend. They had all entered the house on a street off Sunset Boulevard, Joy Gross said, when her husband remembered that she had left a small cosmetics purse in their car.
According to Joy Gross and Tapia, Marv Gross was heading back to the house with the purse when he was startled by two men. One man, who appeared to be in his 20s and wore what the lawyer later described to his wife as a "little, thin mustache," asked: "Pardon me, sir, may I just talk to you for a minute?"
Gross bolted for the carport door. According to Joy Gross, one of the men aimed what her husband described as a "silver-colored pistol" and fired once, just before her husband slammed the door shut. The bullet struck Gross.
The gunman then opened the door, grabbed the purse from Gross and fled with the other man, police said.
Gross stumbled down a short stairway, where he collapsed.
"I thought I had heard a pop," said Joy Gross, who was in her bedroom when the shot was fired. "Bruce (Dawson) was out in the hall and I heard him say: 'Joy, call the police.' Then he heard the shot and said: 'Oh, my God, call an ambulance.' "
Tapia said that the robbery was an unusual occurrence in the neighborhood, which is heavily patrolled by private security guards.
Joy Gross said that her family was "frightened by how easy it was for these men to almost get into the house."
She added that there was some consolation in the fact that her husband's assailants escaped with little for their efforts. "All they got is my lipstick," she said. "Won't they be surprised."