Watch CBS News

Los Angeles store owner shot and paralyzed after walking up to his car

CBS News Live
CBS News Los Angeles Live

A store owner in the Westlake District of Los Angeles was closing down his shop with his wife when a person in a car parked next to his shot and wounded him, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down, police said Thursday.

Now, a $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the suspect in the April 6 shooting.

The Los Angeles Police Department announced the reward during a news conference Thursday morning, releasing photos to the public of two people who police have described as persons of interest — possible witnesses who may have saw what happened. LAPD also released images from surveillance video showing the car where shots were fired from and a description of it.

"This is a call for action," LAPD Captain Manny Chavez said. "Detectives are asking for the public's help in identifying a dangerous suspect responsible for shooting and paralyzing an innocent community member."

Surveillance video images show two people LAPD has described as persons of interest, or possible witnesses, to a shooting in the Westlake District of Los Angeles that left a man paralyzed. The car seen in these images is believed to be the vehicle that shots were fired from, police say. Los Angeles Police Department

Luis Hernandez, 41, was closing down his shop along the 700 block of South Alvarado Street, just outside LA's MacArthur Park, around 8:45 p.m. when he saw a car double parked illegally alongside his. A woman was arguing with another woman inside the car parked next to his, police said.

With his three young children inside his vehicle, he decided to approach his vehicle and make sure his children were safe or try to move his vehicle, according to LAPD. 

Police said Hernandez did not know the two women or anyone who may have been inside the other car.

He walked in between the two cars from the rear and was standing on the rear passenger side of the suspected shooter's car, LAPD Officer Christian Marroquin said. Police have said he did not exchange any words with the shooter.

"And the rear passenger window comes down, and at that point, that's when he sees the firearm pointed at him," Marroquin said.

Hernandez tried to get away once he saw the gun pointed at him, Marroquin said.  

"At that time, he was afraid for his safety, his life, his children's safety — he believed they were going to be caught in the crossfire," Marroquin said. "So he began to walk back towards the sidewalk, and when he turns his back to the suspect vehicle, that's when he gets shot in the lower back area."

In a news release, LAPD said Hernandez was shot in the abdomen. The gunshot wound left him paralyzed from the waist down.

Marroquin said he was shot from a distance of just 10 to 15 feet away.  

It's not clear who exactly fired the shot or where it came from as Hernandez wasn't able to see.

"He did not see if there was an individual in the back seat that was pointing the gun or if it was the driver," Marroquin said. "He was focused on the handgun itself."

The LAPD officer said Hernandez suddenly realized he was shot just as he walked away.

"As he's walking toward the sidewalk, he hears a gunshot, feels the burning sensation, collapses on the sidewalk and his wife and additional witnesses in the area call 911," Marroquin said.

LAPD has described the car that the shooter was inside as a silver 4-door Toyota Camry that's believed to be a model from 2008 to 2015 and has tinted windows and a sunroof. The car has two dents on the passenger side, one on the front end near the headlight and the other near the rear passenger side window.

A man and woman seen in surveillance footage images released by LAPD are believed by detectives to have been in the immediate area of the shooting at the time it happened. Police want to speak with them and see if they can offer any information.

The man is described by police as believed to be about 40 years old, standing 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighing 180 pounds. The woman is believed to be 30 years old with black hair and brown eyes, standing 5 feet, 6 inches and weighing around 140 pounds. 

Los Angeles City Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez, whose district includes the neighborhood where the shooting happened, provided the funding for the $25,000 reward, according to LAPD.

Anyone with information is urged to call Officer Marroquin at 213-484-3651. Those wishing to remain anonymous can reach Los Angeles Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit They can also text TIPLA and information on the tip to 274673 (CRIMES).

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.