A man who was allegedly shot in the leg by a security guard after an argument in the parking lot of a savings and loan in Laguna Hills has filed a lawsuit against the guard, Home Savings and Loan and Pinkerton Security and Investigative Services.
The suit, filed this week in Orange County Superior Court by Elias Villaran, 20, of Culver City seeks an unspecified amount in damages. The suit contends that Pinkerton and Home Savings should have prevented the guard, 60-year-old Emil Mijares, from carrying a weapon since he was not licensed to do so.
Mijares also faces criminal charges of assault with a firearm and carrying a loaded firearm unlawfully in a car. His pretrial hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Municipal Court in Laguna Niguel.
Police said the shooting occurred after Mijares had tried to prevent Villaran from placing flyers on the windshields of cars in the savings and loan parking lot. Sheriff's Department Sgt. Al Coutts said when Mijares asked Villaran to leave, Villaran pushed him. Then, when Villaran turned to walk away, Coutts said, Mijares pulled out a .45 semiautomatic handgun and fired.
Coutts said Mijares was not licensed to carry a gun. Moreover, he said that a security guard or anyone else may shoot only in a life-threatening situation.
Mijares, interviewed by telephone Friday at his home in Orange, denied the charges. While acknowledging he is not licensed to carry a weapon in his job as a security guard, he said he happened to have a pistol on his belt that day because he wanted to show it to a friend at the savings and loan.
Mijares said that during the scuffle with Villaran, Villaran had punched him hard in the chest and threatened to kill him. Mijares said that he suffers from a heart condition and that the punch gave him chest pain and caused him to stumble and get dizzy.
He said he drew the weapon and fired because he believed his life was in danger. He couldn't remember if Villaran was walking away. But he said he purposely aimed low to avoid killing Villaran.
Mijares said he has been suspended from Pinkerton and he surrendered his security guard card to state authorities until the case is resolved. He said he is being represented by a public defender because he can't afford a lawyer.
Villaran could not be reached for comment.
Pinkerton spokeswoman Nancy Joseph declined to comment on Villaran's lawsuit.