A Crenshaw district postal worker drawing money for his church collection plate from an automatic teller machine was shot and killed early Sunday during an apparent robbery attempt.
The attack, at about 3 a.m., was recorded by a video surveillance camera, Los Angeles police said. It shows the victim struggling and trying to run away but being gunned down.
Police said Gerald Jerome Anderson, 31, who was on a break from his mail-handling job, had driven to the Great Western Bank at the corner of Vernon Street and Crenshaw Boulevard.
The video camera surveying the spot shows the killer coming up behind Anderson and standing close behind him, apparently waiting for Anderson to finish his transaction, said Det. Marcella Winn. "You can tell he knows the guy is behind him," Winn said. "His expression [is] frightened or worried, you can't be sure, but you can tell he knows he's there."
Winn says the tape shows the killer, wearing a hooded sweatshirt, stepping to one side, nearly out of the picture, then confronting Anderson face-to-face as the victim turns. Anderson tried to run, but the two struggled a short distance from the ATM, and Anderson was shot, all still within camera range.
Several drivers saw the attack and came to Anderson's aid, Winn said, but she does not know whether they can identify the gunman.
Winn said Anderson was shot once in the upper body and died soon afterward at UCLA Medical Center. Family members said Anderson leaves three children, ages 5 to 8.
"I have to go down to the ATM to get some money to give at the service today," Anderson had earlier told a colleague, according to the victim's brother, Rodney Lewis. Anderson was a member of the Crenshaw Christian Center on Vermont Avenue.
The shooting prompted a gathering at the bank Sunday afternoon that included Police Chief Willie L. Williams, City Council member Mark Ridley-Thomas, and 20 members of the victim's family.
Williams showed the videotape of the killer and asked the public's help in finding him. Great Western Bank is offering a $25,000 reward for apprehension of the killer, Williams said.
Ridley-Thomas, in whose district the crime occurred, said there had been previous nighttime ATM robberies in the general area and that many banks there had reacted by closing down their ATMs at sundown. Until Sunday, however, there had been no trouble in this particular neighborhood, he said.
In July, a 50-year-old man was slain while making a post-midnight transaction at an ATM on South Vermont Avenue as his friends waited in the car. He was the second person to die at an ATM robbery in the county in nine days. A Bank of America branch across the street from where Foster was killed had stopped offering nighttime ATM services long ago.
Lewis, the victim's brother, said the family is "handling it pretty good. It's very tragic, but we're going to have to deal with it."
"We want justice to be done," Lewis said. "We'd like to see whoever did this to be punished to the full extent of the law."
Williams asked anyone who saw the attack to call the LAPD's South Bureau homicide detectives. "We want the public to see these [surveillance] tapes. We want them to get out to the public. Our goal is to get this person off the streets."
Williams urged people not to use ATMs alone after dark. He pointed out that many supermarkets and even police stations now have ATMs indoors that are accessible late at night and early in the morning.