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Police Say Dead Suspect Was 'Very Violent' Man

September 13, 2002|MAI TRAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Authorities on Thursday described a Stanton man who was fatally shot by police as a violent robber who struck at least nine Little Saigon locations over the past year.

Police said the 37-year-old man, whose name has not been released, targeted seniors and Little Saigon businesses that lacked surveillance cameras.

"He [was] a very violent individual and was listed as armed and dangerous, for us to approach him with caution," Westminster Police Lt. Mitch Waller said. "He would often pistol-whip his victims, even if they cooperated with him."

In the attack Tuesday, police said the man and an accomplice broke the glass door to the Asian American Senior Center in Westminster, where a small group of senior citizens gather to play cards.

The men took off their ski masks and then, in Vietnamese, ordered everyone to get on the floor. One man demanded money and jewelry while the other pistol-whipped a 57-year-old man and threatened to kill a woman because she didn't remove her jewelry fast enough.

When the men fled, a witness noted the license plate of the suspect's car and called police.

Officials conducted surveillance Wednesday at the suspect's Stanton home and watched two men leave, Waller said.

When police tried to stop them, the man, who had an outstanding warrant, led police on a 65-mph chase. The pursuit ended about 10 minutes later when the man returned to his home and ran inside. The man came back outside and ran down an alley, where he fired at police officers. The officers fired back, killing the man.

Authorities completed a search warrant at the man's home Thursday and said they found the ski mask and jewelry stolen at the Senior Center.

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