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Fruit vendor shot and killed during armed robbery attempt in Gardena

Fruit vendor fatally shot during armed robbery attempt in Gardena; investigation underway
Fruit vendor fatally shot during armed robbery attempt in Gardena; investigation underway 02:05

A fruit vendor in his 30s was fatally shot in Gardena on Thursday. 

The shooting took place at around 5 p.m. in an unincorporated part of Gardena located on Rosecrans Avenue, between Main Street and San Pedro Street. 

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies from the Compton Station were dispatched to the scene, where they located the man suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest. 

He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was later pronounced dead after succumbing to his wounds. 

His identity was withheld pending notification of next of kin. 

Authorities indicated that the shooting resulted from an armed robbery attempt. They are looking for two suspects involved in the shooting, though did not provide further information. 

"I think it's kind of senseless that anybody would harm a vendor," said Umar Amin, a customer of the vendor's. "It's just sad. Somebody has to lose their life in the middle of trying to feed their family. 

The incident has shaken the Gardena community, including Ilene Romero, who also works as a street vendor in the area. 

"We see him everyday. We don't talk, but we see him everyday," she said, now considering whether it's safe for her to continue selling tamales on the street. "I'm scared. I'm scared because I'm here everyday with my mom or my dad. Now I know it's very dangerous."

Tytetta Carlos, who also works nearby ran out from her workplace to help, since she thought the noise stemmed from a car crash. 

"It was so horrible, the guy was laid out," she said. "There were people screaming. I don't know if it was a child or his daughter, or whatever the case, we had to calm her down."

According to regulars, the vendor normally had his daughter with him while he worked. Deputies have yet to confirm if the girl was his daughter, and if she witnessed the shooting. 

Investigators were hopeful that the surveillance cameras on the nearby Bank of America caught the incident. 

Community activists planned a vigil at the area for 6:30 p.m. Friday evening. 

Anyone with information on the shooting was asked to call the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

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