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Shop Owner's Shooting of Man Probed

Inquiry: Prosecutors will decide whether actions were criminal or in self-defense.

December 28, 1997|KARIMA A. HAYNES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NORTH HOLLYWOOD — Prosecutors are expected to review the case of a bicycle shop owner who fatally shot a suspected thief to determine if there are grounds to charge the proprietor with a crime, police said Saturday.

Detectives intend to submit the case to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office Monday, said Lt. Denis Cremins of the Los Angeles Police Department's North Hollywood Division.

"The case will be presented to the district attorney for final disposition," Cremins said. "The district attorney will make the determination of criminal intent or self-defense."

No charges have been filed against the owner of the Pedal Shop, who told police he fired in self-defense after the alleged thief, Antonio Fierro, 42, attacked him with a hammer during a robbery Friday afternoon.

Police declined to name the businessman, identified in public records as Larry Hoffman.

Hoffman would not comment on the matter Saturday. He referred questions to his lawyer, Michael Mayock of Pasadena.

"I'm certain that they [prosecutors] will look at the evidence . . . and based on the circumstances, a criminal filing against Mr. Hoffman will not occur," Mayock said.

Asked how Hoffman was dealing with shooting, Mayock said: "He's obviously distraught over what happened. Any person should and would feel remorse over an incident that leads to the death of another person."

Hoffman is not speaking publicly because he is still shaken by the incident and out of respect for the victim's family, Mayock said.

The incident began at 12:30 p.m. when Fierro entered the Pedal Shop at Lankershim Boulevard and Kling Street, looked at a few bicycles and left.

Fierro returned to the store when Hoffman was alone, approached the counter and swung at him with a hammer, police said. The two men struggled with the hammer until Hoffman broke free and ran out of the store for help, police said.

Hoffman returned to the store, saw no sign of his attacker and pulled a .38-caliber revolver from under a counter, police said. Hoffman went to the back of the store, where he saw Fierro loading a men's mountain bike into a van, police said.

Fierro saw Hoffman and walked toward him with the hammer in his hand, police said. Hoffman shouted he had a gun and fired at least twice when Fierro ignored his warning to stop, police said.

The mortally wounded Fierro managed to climb into a van driven from the scene by his 31-year-old nephew to Fierro's nearby home in the 6100 block of Cleon Avenue, police said. His body was discovered by relatives, who called police.

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