Los Angeles, CA – A shootout on Monday between Armenian gang members and a business owner they were trying to extort ended with one gang member in the hospital after their intended victim shot back (video below).
“What the suspects weren’t counting on was the victim was armed too,” Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Sergeant Frank Preciado told reporters, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Employees of the Royal Fresh Market on Sherman Way in North Hollywood arrived at work Monday morning to find graffiti spray-painted all over the side of the store, KCAL reported.
Police said that the owner of the store had already contacted them several weeks earlier about an Armenian gang that was trying to force him to pay them thousands of dollars.
“Detectives had been investigating an extortion plot at the location for the past week,” LAPD said in a statement. “Graffiti was discovered on the outside wall of the business that stated, ‘Pay me $100,000.00.'”
Employees were outside scrubbing the graffiti from the walls just after 8 a.m. on Oct. 28 when four armed Armenian gangsters showed up in the parking lot demanding money, KCAL reported.
“Unbeknownst to the suspects, the store owner was at the store [this morning]. He was armed, and a shooting transpired at that point,” Sgt. Preciado said. “To our knowledge, only one suspect was shot.”
Witnesses described a prolonged gun battle between the store owner, who had two guns, and the gangsters who were carrying even more firepower, KCAL reported.
The sergeant said the parking lot was littered with dozens of spent shell casings by the time the gunfight ended.
“They were automatic weapons and we believe possibly even a rifle was used,” Sgt. Preciado told reporters.
A video of the incident was captured by surveillance cameras in the parking lot.
In the video, the gang members can be seen in the parking lot getting into a confrontation with employees.
Police said that’s when one of the gangsters pulled out a gun, KCAL reported.
Then the video showed another man – presumably the store owner - pulled up in his car.
The man got out of his vehicle and took a semi-automatic rifle from his trunk and began shooting at the gangsters.
The store owner managed to hit one of the Armenian gang members, but three others escaped, according to KCAL.
The gang member who was shot was taken into custody nearby and transported to the hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening wounds.
Police were looking for three suspects who fled in a light-colored or white Audi.
There were no other injuries during the gunfight, despite the fact there were customers all over the parking lot and the sidewalks, KCAL reported.
Bullets did cause damage to some of the cars in the parking lot and across the street, where bullets also went through the windows of some businesses.
Police said that no charges had been filed against the store owner and that the shooting was being investigated as self-defense, KCAL reported.
Sgt. Preciado said that the store owner, whose name has not been released, was also of Armenian descent, and had found himself the target of the Armenian gang’s extortion attempts weeks earlier, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Other business owners in the area told KCAL the problem with Armenian gangs in the area was bad and frightened them.
“You have to kinda like look the other way now,” one neighbor said. “Confrontation nowadays turns into what happened this afternoon.”
Watch video of the gunfight in the video below: