LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Investigators believe a man who was shot and killed outside a popular Hollywood restaurant in the early morning hours Tuesday was coming to the aid of a woman who was being attacked by suspects likely linked to the recent slew of “follow-home robberies.”
The shooting occurred at 2:09 a.m. in the 7100 block of Sunset Boulevard, outside Bossa Nova restaurant.
Los Angeles police responded to find 23-year-old Jose Ruiz Gutierrez dead at the scene.
“I heard a lot of shots,” a man, who did not want to be identified, told CBSLA. “I couldn’t count how many. And then I heard a scream. This girl was constantly screaming ‘help.’ I come downstairs, the guy is laying down in front of the car. I check his pulse. Maybe I could do something, but he had too many gunshots in his head. So, there was nothing I could do.”
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore told the LAPD Commission later Tuesday morning that the victim was coming to the defense of a woman was being confronted by eight robbery suspects who were approaching her from two different vehicles.
Moore said Gutierrez “was coming to the aid of the female who was being attacked.”
It’s unclear if the suspects made off with any items, or if the woman was harmed. Witnesses said the suspects drove away from the scene in a black Nissan and were seen with handguns.
Moore added that the killing was likely connected to the recent spree of follow-home robberies in which suspects tail victims home, usually from high-end restaurants or nightclubs, and rob them of expensive jewelry, purses or other items.
Police have listed areas such as Melrose Avenue and the L.A. Jewelry District as places where these crimes originate.
Moore told the commission that there have been at least 133 follow-home robberies so far this year and that the department is forming a special task force to tackle the problem.
On Nov. 10, several suspects were involved in an attempted armed robbery in Sherman Oaks in which they allegedly tailed TV host Terrence Jenkins to his house, and then later opened fire on him. He was not hurt.
On Oct. 27, the Encino home of Dorit Kemsley, star of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” was robbed at gunpoint. Police said two suspects broke a sliding glass door and entered Kemsley’s home while she and her children were inside. Holding her at gunpoint, they allegedly threatened to kill her. They stole high-end handbags, jewelry and watches. A third suspect, the getaway driver, later met the other two in a black pickup truck before fleeing the scene.