SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — A father of nine was gunned down in San Bernardino Monday night while he tried to protect his wife from a robber.
The incident happened outside of the family’s apartment on the 2000 block of Guthrie Street.
Leon McLaughlin, 38, and his wife, Carol, were returning home after running errands when a man approached them in the parking lot and demanded property from Carol, possibly her purse or money.
Carol said her husband charged the man because the suspect was coming at her.
“They tussled. He pulled out a gun. Shot my husband,” she said.
A resident told KCAL9′s Greg Mills, “Gunshots went off. I was getting ready to go get my laundry and noticed my neighbor was on the ground. I immediately just tried to do CPR on him…tried to help him.”
McLaughlin died from his wounds at Loma Linda University Medical Center.
Carol said she didn’t get a good look at the suspect’s face, but she has this message for him.
“Just turn yourself in. I don’t think you realize how many lives you ruined. It would be easier on yourself if you turn yourself in,” she said.
The victim’s daughter, Kolani, said she hopes police catch the person who took her father away from his family.
“It’s not fair to all of us that he was taken away for something that they did. He didn’t even do anything but try to protect his wife,” she said.
Kolani said, “I’m gonna miss him. I don’t know what I’m going to do without my dad. He was the best dad ever. He makes me laugh and he always tries to encourage me to do my best.”
Shelby Jackson, Kolani’s mother and the victim’s ex-girlfriend, said McLaughlin was a really nice person.
“He was fun all the time. He liked to laugh and do silly things,” said Jackson.
A memorial fund has been created for McLaughlin’s children.
If you would like to help the victim’s family, donate directly to Wells Fargo account #5253300395.