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/ DEVELOPMENTS IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY

Man Killed After Trying to Fight Off Robbers

May 20, 1999

RANCHO DOMINGUEZ — A 21-year-old man was shot and killed Tuesday night after trying to protect his girlfriend in a robbery near Compton, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

Dakari Copeland, 21, died at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood after a bullet pierced his neck, hospital officials said.

Copeland and his girlfriend, whom police would not identify, were walking along the 3800 block of East Bennett Street at about 11 p.m. when two men 18 to 22 years of age accosted them, sheriff's Deputy Mark Bailey said.

Demanding money and the girlfriend's purse, one robber pulled out a handgun, Bailey said.

Copeland grabbed the gun and briefly struggled with the robber before losing his grip and fleeing, leaving his girlfriend behind, Bailey said.

The gunman fired several shots at Copeland, striking him once in the neck, Bailey said. After running another block, Copeland collapsed and died minutes later at the hospital, officials said.

The robbers, who are still at large, took the girlfriend's purse and ran, Bailey said. She was not harmed.

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