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Albuquerque Reviews Its Gun Policy After Killings There and at Universal

December 11, 1988|JOHN JOHNSON | Times Staff Writer

The killing of five people in Los Angeles and Albuquerque, allegedly by a man obsessed with hunting Nazis, has prompted a soul-searching review of handgun policies in the New Mexico city that prides itself on its rugged Western identity.

As Nathan Trupp awaits arraignment in Los Angeles in the shooting deaths of two Universal Studios security guards, Albuquerque Mayor Ken Schultz is asking the city's gun shop owners to attend a meeting with city officials Wednesday.

Schultz said he wants to discuss possible regulations that might have prevented Trupp, a former mental patient, from acquiring the handgun allegedly used to kill the guards Dec. 1 and three others earlier that week at an Albuquerque bagel shop.

The measures include imposing a waiting period for gun purchases to give shop owners time to check into their customers' backgrounds. In the past, gun shop operators complained, police have refused to perform such checks, and Schultz is now responding by ordering them to be more cooperative.

Mike Santullo, the mayor's press spokesman, called these actions a significant "first step" toward preventing future tragedies. Santullo admitted that the adoption of a "cooling-off" period would have to be strictly voluntary on the part of gun shop owners, because the state Constitution forbids cities in New Mexico from enacting gun-control laws.

"This is New Mexico," Santullo said. "They pride themselves on their Western ways."

The effort underscores the impact on the city of the killing of three people in the family run Bagel Lovers shop, allegedly by Trupp, 42, a mentally disturbed artist who moved to Albuquerque months earlier from New Jersey.

Afterward, Trupp took a bus to Los Angeles and shot security guards Jeren Beeks, 27, of La Crescenta and Armando Torres, 18, of East Los Angeles at the Universal Studios lot, according to police.

The guards had refused to put Trupp in contact with actor and producer Michael Landon, who police believe was Trupp's prime target.

Trupp reportedly had raged that the star of television's "Highway to Heaven" is a Nazi.

Trupp has been talking to investigators while hospitalized in the jail ward at County-USC Medical Center with chest and arm injuries from a gunfight with a Sheriff's Departmentdeputy outside Universal Studios.

He faces two counts of first-degree murder in the guard slayings, including special circumstance allegations that could bring the death penalty.

On Saturday, a cordon of fellow security officers stood at attention outside a Glendale chapel where Beeks was remembered in a memorial service as a man who wanted to serve others.

An overflow crowd of about 400 co-workers, family, friends, fellow Jaycees and others attended the service at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

"This young man was the most positive individual I ever came across," former Glendale Jaycees President Jack Kauffman said.

Jim Chappell, a medical worker who was admitted to the film lot by Beeks 10 minutes before the shooting, recited a poem written in Beeks' memory: "Close your eyes . . . you will again see me waving you on."

Torres was buried Wednesday at Resurrection Cemetery in East Los Angeles after memorial services attended by about 300 people, many of them the guards with whom he worked.

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