Soaring SoCal gas prices have us all a little on edge — but for one suspected gas thief in the Valley this morning, the recession tension turned fatal.

The man was lurking outside a home on the 10200 block of Sunland Boulevard at around 6 a.m. when the resident inside — according to the story he told LAPD officers — heard strange noises and rushed outside with his handgun.

LAPD spokesman Richard French told City News Service that the Sunland resident alleged the man had been “stealing gas from his car,” and that he had warned the man to leave before opening fire.

Another LAPD spokesman, Officer Gregory Beck, tells the Weekly that the shooter was a 35-year-old white male. He allegedly shot the victim — in his 50s, according to the L.A. County coroner — once in the chest after witnessing him trying to siphon gas, which was enough to kill him at the scene.

Beck says the suspect is not currently in police custody, as “the charges of the shooting have not yet been determined.” Homicide detectives will decide whether it was a criminal shooting after further investigation.


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