Rite Aid shooting: family and friends mourn 36-year-old employee as manhunt continues

GLASSELL PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) – Friends and family gathered on Sunday to mourn the loss of a Rite Aid employee in Glassell Park, who was gunned down while facing off against a shoplifter, as the authorities are continuing the search for his killers.

A vigil was held Sunday evening in memory of Miguel Penaloza. Investigators say the 36-year-old clashed with two suspects on Thursday as they tried to escape with two cases of beer without paying. A brief scuffle ensued and one of the suspects pulled out a handgun and fatally shot him.

Former colleagues and Penaloza’s family believe the lack of security in the store led to the death.

“They should have had security there. They should have had someone there. There was no one to protect their employees. My brother gave his life for $ 20 worth of beer,” a woman said. at Eyewitness News.

A memorial of flowers, balloons and candles continues to grow outside the store for Penaloza, who has worked two jobs to support her parents. Friends say he had just given notice to quit his job at Rite Aid before he died.

“He had a big heart, ready to help anyone. When I say anyone, (I mean) anyone. If he had … he would find a way to help you. “said her friend Angie Sanchez.

Authorities on Saturday released surveillance photos of the two men wanted in Penaloza’s death.

The suspects, both aged 18 to 20, fled through the parking lot in an unknown direction. One was described as being 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing around 200 pounds, wearing a gray hoodie, black shorts and black shoes with white trims. The second suspect was described as being 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing around 145 pounds, wearing a black hoodie with a large square print on the back, beige or gray pants and black shoes.

“I want justice for him. He didn’t deserve to be shot for beer. He didn’t deserve it, no one deserves it,” Sanchez said.

Anyone with information on the case is urged to call homicide detectives at the LAPD central office at (213) 996-4180 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

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