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Grocer Slain After Handing Over Money to 2 Robbers : Violence: A Pasadena merchant who helped raise funds to fight crime becomes a victim. He offered no resistance to the gunmen.

November 19, 1993|CHAU LAM | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Two robbers wearing hooded sweat shirts and bandannas fatally shot a Pasadena grocer Wednesday evening after he handed over money from his store's cash register, police said.

One robber told customers in the small, neighborhood store on North El Molino Avenue that "nobody sees my face," and ordered all inside to lie on the floor, said a woman who was told about what happened inside the store.

The victim, 50-year-old Hak K. Byun of Arcadia, apparently did not resist and told the robbers to take the money and leave, the woman said.

The robbers were on their way out when one of them turned and shot the merchant, said Pasadena Police Lt. Denis Petersen. The grocer did not have a gun in the shop and did nothing to provoke the shooting, police said.

The grocer died at Huntington Memorial Hospital shortly after the 6 p.m. shooting. A market employee who ducked when he saw the masked men enter the market was not hurt, police said.

On Thursday, police postponed a planned showing of a store videotape of the incident. They are attempting to secure the family's permission to show the tape today in hopes that it will persuade witnesses to come forward with more information about the gunmen.

Tommie Lawrence, pastor of God's House of Prayers for All Nations, a church next to Smith Jr. Market in the 1300 block of North El Molino Avenue, was shocked by the shooting.

"He is the most cooperative merchant in the area," Lawrence said.

The merchant donated a part of his parking lot to the church on weekends so members could hold barbecues, selling the food to raise money to fight crime in the neighborhood, Lawrence said.

"And he paid for his barbecue," the pastor said. "He wouldn't let us give it to him for free. He said this is to help the church. He has provided the lot for us to raise money to fight crime and now he's a victim of it. It's a tragedy.

"He is a fine gentleman and a generous person."

Byun's sister, Bo Yun, said her brother and his wife had been planning to sell the store early next year so that they could take their first vacation in 10 years. "All he did was work, work, work, seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.," Yun said.

She said Byun and his wife had a son and daughter, both in their 20s. "It's very sad," Yun said.

No arrests have been made, police said.

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