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Attackers grab bank guard's gun and shoot him dead in South L.A.

August 29, 2008|Ruben Vives and Andrew Blankstein | Times Staff Writers

Two attackers wrested a handgun from a security guard at a Los Angeles bank Thursday, then fatally shot him with his own weapon, police said.

The guard, whose name has not been released by authorities, was approached about 10:30 a.m. in the parking lot of the Bank of America branch at 29th Street and Crenshaw Boulevard in Jefferson Park, police said.

The victim, described as a middle-aged Latino, was pronounced dead at a hospital while undergoing surgery, said Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman Kate Lopez.

An employee at a nearby store said she saw two men bend down and grab something before fleeing on foot.

"It made me cry," she said. The security guard "woke up thinking it's another day of work, another day of life."

Some regular bank customers said they did not know the security guard by name but described him as a friendly man who had worked there for several years.

Leticia Bellez, 36, who went to the bank with her 96-year-old grandmother to withdraw money before the Labor Day weekend, said she was stunned to learn of the killing.

"He was friendly and very courteous," Bellez said. "He would always open the door for us."

Jimmie James, another bank patron, said his initial thought when he arrived at the bank was that the guard had killed someone. "Then I found out he was the one that got killed," James said.

"He was telling me the other day about how he was going to quit, because he didn't feel safe over here," James said. "It's strange, you see someone every day and don't ask for a name."

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ruben.vives@latimes.com

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

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