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Blow to Head Kills Teen-Ager at Gas Station


NORTH HOLLYWOOD — A recent Grant High School graduate was killed by a blow on the head at a gas station at the corner of Sherman Way and Coldwater Canyon Avenue early Saturday morning, according to police.

Shortly before 2:40 a.m., North Hollywood resident Hieu T. Luong, 18, was seen talking to two people at the Unocal service station, then closed, when witnesses heard a noise, which they described as sounding like a gunshot, said Los Angeles Police Detective Mike Coffey.

But Coffey said Luong's injuries were more characteristic of a blunt-force trauma.

"It appears he was hit in the head with something," Coffey said.

Witnesses told police they saw Luong lying on the ground and the two people leaving the scene in two cars, one of them Luong's 1986 Toyota Celica. Luong, who lived with his parents a block from the gas station, was taken by ambulance to Holy Cross Medical Center, where he died of head injuries.

Police said they have no description of the killers and no idea why they would kill Luong, a Vietnamese immigrant who worked in the Woodland Hills office of the Automobile Club of Southern California.

"It doesn't appear to be gang-related," Coffey said. "All the information that we had is that he was a good kid with a totally clean record. It just seems like he might have gotten into a dispute with somebody, but we don't know. His car is nothing that anybody would want."

The stolen car is a green two-door vehicle with California license plates, number 2CHT893. The killers were last seen driving south on Coldwater Canyon Boulevard, Coffey said.

Luong had spent the evening with friends, going out to dinner and then to a pinball arcade on Sepulveda Boulevard, police said. He then dropped off his two friends at their homes, Coffey said, and was apparently on his way home when he was killed.

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