Actor Huffman Was Slain While Chasing Car Burglar

Times Staff Writer

Actor David Huffman's split-second decision to chase a man who had broken into an elderly couple's parked car led to his stabbing death last week in Balboa Park, police said.

The couple, who said they were involved in the events leading to Huffman's slaying, came forward with the first description of the suspected slayer, Police Capt. Wes Allen said.

The man being sought in the murder is described as a clean-shaven Latino in his 20s; 5 feet, 6 inches to 5 feet, 8 inches tall, with black hair and a generally well-groomed appearance.

A $25,000 reward raised by Huffman's friends and fellow actors is being offered to help solve the case. The reward was announced at a press conference Friday at the Old Globe Theatre, where Huffman had starred in a production of "Of Mice and Men."

Allen, who is heading the police investigation, said the couple, identified Friday only as elderly and from another city, told police they were leaving the park at 11:20 a.m. on Feb. 27, when they encountered a man who had broken into their locked car. The auto, parked in a lot behind the Organ Pavilion, was only a few feet from where Huffman sat playing the bagpipes in the front passenger seat of his van.

After the couple confronted the suspect, he fled on foot, and Huffman jumped from his van to offer assistance.

Police believe that Huffman chased the thief into a steep-sloped canyon in the park, where the two men struggled before Huffman was stabbed twice in the chest, probably with a screwdriver. Huffman bled to death within minutes.

The man he chased had been interrupted before getting a chance to steal anything from the couple's car. The couple waited near Huffman's van for a short time, before leaving the park, Allen said.

Huffman's body was found about 90 minutes later by a group of schoolchildren on a nature walk.

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