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SANTA MONICA : Russian Immigrant Is Shot in Face in Apparent Mugging

January 13, 1994

A 27-year-old Russian immigrant who may not have understood a mugger's demands remained in serious condition Wednesday after being shot in the face during an alleged robbery attempt on Ocean Park Boulevard in Santa Monica this week.

Two men were arrested Sunday morning shortly after the crime when their car stopped with engine trouble on the Santa Monica Freeway near Centinela Boulevard, said Santa Monica Police Sgt. Gary Gallinot.

Police say the men robbed a young couple in the parking lot of Norm's restaurant at Lincoln Boulevard and Colorado Avenue at 4:05 a.m. and then attempted to rob two Russian immigrants in the 700 block of Ocean Park Boulevard shortly afterward.

"The two Russian victims were . . . apparently switching driving duties when the suspects approached and said some initial words in Spanish," Gallinot said. "When the two in the car did not respond, the driver's window was smashed with two shotgun blasts. The driver was hit but managed to slam the car into reverse, which led the robbers to flee."

The driver, Vladimir Sofman, suffered severe facial wounds and was undergoing treatment at UCLA Medical Center. His passenger, 26-year-old Yan Yukhtman, was unhurt, Gallinot said. Both are Los Angeles residents.

Luis Armando Prado, 23, and Juan Munoz Ramirez, 21, were booked for attempted murder, robbery and attempted robbery after they were identified by three of the victims, Gallinot said. Prado and Ramirez are being held on $525,000 bail.

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