PANORAMA CITY (CBSLA.com) — Police Friday were investigating the fatal shooting of a 51-year-old liquor store security guard in a Panorama City strip mall.
The shooting happened in the 15000 block of Roscoe Boulevard Thursday night, the Los Angeles Police Department said.
According to police, a liquor store employee heard one gunshot around 9:50 p.m. and called 911.
“When he went outside to investigate, the clerk found the uniformed security guard lying in a walkway between two stores, leading to the rear alley,” Det. Ryan Verna said in a statement.
Oscar Vasquez was later declared dead by paramedics on scene.
A witness told detectives that he saw Vasquez arguing with a Hispanic man wearing a brown hoodie minutes before the shooting. A group of people were also seen running from the scene, police said.
“This is a very, very busy strip mall. There’s a lot of activity that goes down here all the time,” Cpt. Todd Chamberlain said. “Was it people that were just running that were here buying a donut or was it somebody involved in the incident? We’re going to be very, very specific and very crystal clear in locating these people.”
According to employees, the guard had patrolled the mall for at least eight years and had three grown daughters. His wife sobbed uncontrollably Friday as she stood where her husband was gunned down.
Friday evening, KCAL9’s Suraya Fadel reported detectives still have no motive for the murder. Officials also told her no gun was found at the crime scene and they believe Vasquez may have been killed by his own gun after a suspect wrestled it away from him.
Longtime friend Miguel Mendoza came to the crime scene to pay his respects. He brought along two of his children. “I can’t understand who would do something like this, to someone so nice. Somebody so caring. Someone who always willing to share a smile with you.”
Anyone with information about this crime should call Det.Verna of the Mission Homicide Unit at (818) 838-9976. Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637.