Police today were looking for a man who fatally shot a phone store owner in front of witnesses in Arleta last night.
The victim, ID'd by the L.A. County coroner's office as 34-year-old Nestor Porfilio Hernandez, died on the sidewalk outside the store, LAPD said:
It happened about 8:40 p.m. last night: Cops said witnesses flagged down a passing fire truck to report that a heavy-set man had shot the store owner on a sidewalk outside the store.
The shop at 8940 Woodman Ave. appears to be called Titas Cellular Shop.
Police say a woman claiming to be the owner's wife quickly identified him to arriving officers.
The gunman is suspected of robbing the owner before opening fire, police said: The victim was closing up shop when it went down.
The shooter ran south on Woodman “for quite a distance,” according to an LAPD statement.
Investigators found several shell casings at the scene, cops said.
Here's how LAPD described the suspect:
… a heavy-set Hispanic man, wearing a white shirt and carrying a gun.
Lt. Paul Vernon:
We're asking anyone with information to come forward to help us solve this case quickly. Right now, this appears to be a robbery, but we'll have to look deeper to know for sure. What we can count on, though, is people talk, and we need anyone with information to step up so we can solve this for this man's wife.
If you think you know who the shooter is or where the suspect might be, detectives would like to hear from you: 818-838-9948.
[Update at 3:23 p.m. Wednesday]: LAPD this afternoon released a still shot from security video of the man whom detectives say is the shooter.
Police now say the suspect pulled the trigger of a shotgun four times at close range. After examining the imagery, Vernon had this to say:
It's apparent the shooter appears suddenly from the victim's right. There's no real confrontation, just an immediate assault. It's deliberate, premeditated and tends to show it's a grudge.
Investigators also released a photo of a woman, described as a potential witness, who apparently entered a nearby tattoo shop about the time of the shooting. They would like to track her down and have a word.
If you think you know the ID or whereabouts of either of these folks, there's a number, above, that cops would like you to dial.