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Taxi driver punched, dies in Hawthorne; man killed in Long Beach

A taxi driver was killed in Hawthorne on Monday after a man punched him once and then fled, authorities said.

The driver was in his cab in a parking lot in the 12800 block of Prairie Avenue and first a had a verbal argument with a woman in her car, who then got out and walked to the cab during the confrontation.

"After those words, the victim went into one of the businesses and when he came out, the suspect was waiting for him," said Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Lt. Holly Francisco.

HOMICIDE REPORT: A story for every victim

The suspected assailant, a man who authorities think knows the woman because they have been seen on surveillance video talking with each other, then punched the approximately 50-year-old driver about 4:34 p.m.

The "victim goes down to the ground and the suspect flees on foot," Francisco said. The taxi driver was taken to a hospital, where he died.

An official with the Los Angeles County Fire Department said the man was transported for traumatic arrest that he said "just means they had some type of injuries that was causing them to be lifeless."

An official with the Los Angeles County coroner's office said the man has not been identified. Authorities said they think the man may have hit his head after being punched, but it was still unclear what caused his death.

Francisco said it is also unclear what sparked the initial argument.

"We don't know if it was a fight over a parking spot or what," she said.

Authorities on Tuesday planned to canvass businesses in the neighborhood for more surveillance video.

The death marks the first homicide of the year in Hawthorne. In the last 12 months, there were at least two other homicides in the neighborhood, according to the Homicide Report.

Also on Monday, a man was killed about 1:50 p.m. after being shot multiple times in the upper body near Artesia Boulevard and Myrtle Avenue, according to the Long Beach Police Department.

The victim, identified as 22-year-old Robert Anthony Proano of Long Beach was taken to a hospital, where he died.

The shooting is possibly gang related, authorities said.

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ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com

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