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Retired LAPD sergeant is shot to death in Walnut

July 31, 2007|Richard Winton | Times Staff Writer

A retired Los Angeles Police Department sergeant and author was shot to death in Walnut as he waited for a tow truck after getting a flat tire, sheriff's officials and his family said.

Ruben B. Whittington, 62, was shot about 11:30 p.m. Sunday in the 300 block of Lemon Avenue.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Det. Kevin Lowe said Whittington had been working late at his business.

In the 10 minutes between Whittington's call to the Automobile Club of Southern California and the arrival of a tow truck, someone shot him in the chest, possibly in the course of a botched robbery, Lowe said.

"He called me to say he had a flat tire and that he sent for AAA. When the guy from Bob's Towing arrived, he was dead," said Whittington's wife, Marsha.

She said the back of her husband's car was open and he apparently had been "pulling out the spare tire when someone killed him."

"I just want them to catch whoever did this," she said. "There was no reason to do it. I want someone to read this and come forward with information."

Whittington, a 20-year LAPD veteran who retired in 1995, is survived by his wife and a 25-year-old daughter, authorities said. His last assignment was at the Hollywood Division station.

Whittington operated Mr. Handyman in the Walnut area and wrote a novel, "Soldier: Behind the Badge."

Born and raised in Norristown, Pa., he served in the Air Force and in a local police agency there before joining the LAPD.

The Vietnam veteran also taught law enforcement for seven years at Los Altos and Workman high schools.

Lowe asked anyone with information on the shooting to call him at (323) 890-5500.

richard.winton@latimes.com

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Times staff writer Jill Leovy contributed to this report.

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