VALLEY VILLAGE (CBSLA.com) — A small memorial was set up Friday outside a Valley Village convenience store, where a married couple was stabbed on the job while trying to stop a thief, police said.
Officers were dispatched to the 7-Eleven at Laurel Canyon and Chandler boulevards at 9:15 a.m. Upon arrival, they found both store clerks suffering from stab wounds.
Both victims were taken to a hospital, where the husband was pronounced dead and the wife was listed in critical condition.
Friends identified the couple as Washi Ahmed and Paulina Lopez.
According to police, the shoplifter believed to be homeless man walked into the store, took a beer and a hot dog and left without paying.
Security video from the coin laundry next door shows Lopez chasing after the thief, who stabbed her. When her husband intervened, the suspect stabbed him, too, investigators said.
Officers later arrested the suspect two blocks away, with knife in hand.
People familiar with the store said the couple got married more than a year ago.
Longtime patrons said Ahmed had worked at the store for almost 30 years and was kind to his customers.
One customer said he can’t believe what happened. “She’s a sweetheart.”
“They call you by your first name. It’s just a very friendly establishment,” said another customer.
“I’m going to miss him. I just saw him two days ago. Really good friend,” said Mario Rodriguez, Rashid’s friend.
Ahmed left behind an 11-year-old daughter and a 20-year-old son.
Officials at 7-Eleven Inc. issued a statement calling the stabbings a horrible situation. “Our hearts are with the victims and their families. We are gathering information and working with law enforcement.”