Thursday, September 29, 2005

Sexual comment led L.A. store owner to shoot customers, police say

Associated Press:

A discount store owner shot and killed two of his frequent customers after one of the men made a sexual comment to a female clerk, police said.

"It started with an insult," said Los Angeles Police Detective Frank Weber, who was investigating the Sunday night shooting at the Super Discount Store.

The store owner, Rovidio Espana, 31, was charged Tuesday with two counts of murder in the killings of William Armistead, 23, and Courtney Whaley, 17.

The shootings shocked neighbors of Espana's South Los Angeles business, who said the store was a place of racial harmony in an area teeming with antagonism between Hispanics and blacks. They recalled how the Guatemalan immigrant forgave minor debts and gave children quarters to play the store's video machine.

"We got along with blacks as well as Mexicans. Race didn't matter to us," said Espana's wife, Lorena, who was not present when the shooting occurred. "For him to do what he did, he must have felt pressured in some way by the victims."

Police said the shootings were not the result of a racial conflict. Espana is Latino and the victims were black.

"Someone just got angry and it went from a verbal dispute to, 'I'm going to kill you,'" said Detective Rich Arciniega.

Police said Espana and the men argued after Armistead made a comment to the clerk shortly after arriving at the store around 9 p.m. Officers wouldn't say what was said.

The victims, who were friends, left the store but returned. At that point, Espana shot the men, neither of whom was armed, police said.

"I can see a lot of people placed in that situation and saying, 'Oh my God, what have I done?'" Weber said of Espana. "I think it's tragic on both sides."

Attorney Claims Shooting At Discount Store Was Self-Defense


At 3:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Police said the shootings were not the result of a racial conflict."

Yeah, I'm sure that's right. Neither were all those brawls between Hispanics and Blacks at LA high schools.

Perhaps authorities -- and it's a little scary to speak of cops as authorities -- have to play this absurd line because if they didn't the whole fantasy of a working and workable diversity and multicultural city would crack.

And wouldn't that be a shame.

At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sure that if the store owner were white then he would have been charged with a racially-motivated hate crime. For some reason, the LAPD wants to downplay the fact that minorities can be just as racist as whites.

At 4:57 AM, Anonymous sara y said...

all people who left comments I bet are OMG a shooting..F all of you.. you dont know shit. Cops dont help, Goveners dont help, fuck what else are people out here suppose to do.. he did it in self defence and got 40 years to life.. what a fucking ask for help and nothing you defende yourself and the people you asked for help arrest you bull shit

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