HIGHLAND (CBSLA) — The victim of a fatal shooting at a pawn shop in the Inland Empire four days ago, was remembered this evening as a special son and father.
Jason Cullen, 32, working at a pawn store owned by his parents, was killed during a shootout.
Authorities said two armed men attempted to rob the shop in the 2600 block of Highland Avenue.
An emotional vigil was held for Cullen Sunday evening.
KCAL9’s Tina Patel talked to Cullen’s friends and family.
They gathered outside the shop where he was killed Wednesday. Police said Cullen was helping customers when the two men — wearing surgical masks and hoodies — came in and tried to rob the place.
They reportedly threw a lit Molotov cocktail at Cullen and then shot at him. Armed, Cullen was able to get off a few shots himself before collapsing.
The men ran off and crashed their vehicle a short distance away. The men got away on foot.
Cullen was taken to a hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.
“He always had a smile,” said friend Linda Rash. “Never a sad face. He was always out there to help others. He was an amazing dad He was the father of two little boys, 2 and 6. He was just a real nice man.”
Delores Cullen was grateful to see the huge turnout for her son.
“I know that he would be moved by the amount of people here today,” she said.
Delores believes the fact the attempted robbers came into the store with weaponry and explosive devices indicates they wanted to not just rob the place but leave a lot of casualties.
“If not for our son’s reaction to that,” she said, “there would have been a lot more deaths here.”
She’s comforted in her grief by knowing her son kept other employees and customers from being hurt.
“My husband and I take solace in the fact that our son died a good death — he died protecting people.”
Patel also spoke to Cullen’s fiancee. Tina McCullough.
“I believe that if there was a way he would have wanted to go,” she said, “that that is the way he would have wanted to go. That is the type of guy he was. He was an amazing person.”
The friends and family were in a lot of pain but they were also hoping the vigil will get someone who might know something to come forward and talk to authorities.