A gunman suspected of robbing a bank in Paramount and commandeering a car with three hostages Monday was shot as he and one of the hostages struggled for the gun, sheriff's deputies said.
The suspect, Lorenzo Juarez, 20, of Paramount was hospitalized in stable condition at Martin Luther King Jr.-Drew Medical Center with a gunshot wound in the neck.
George Pennington, a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, said Juarez entered the Bank of America office at 15919 Paramount Blvd. shortly before noon and climbed onto a counter while displaying a handgun. He ordered about 20 employees and 10 to 20 customers to lie on the floor and then told a woman teller to fill a paper bag with money.
Jumped in Car
She put about $1,400 into the bag, Pennington said. The gunman then ran out of the bank into a side alley, where he ordered a woman to get out of her car. She was unable to comply because of a physical handicap, so he ran to another car, where Amanda Murillo of Compton sat behind the wheel with her husband, Clifton, 34, beside her. Her son, Anthony Davis, 19, was in the back seat.
The robber shoved his way into the front seat beside the couple, Pennington said, then forced Mrs. Murillo to drive west on the Artesia Freeway. Meanwhile an unidentified witness followed the car to obtain the license number and a sheriff's helicopter trailed overhead.
Sheriff's patrol cars joined in the pursuit, entering the Long Beach Freeway and then heading west on Imperial Highway.
As the car entered Lynwood, Clifton Murillo finally grabbed Juarez and tried to disarm him while Davis slugged the gunman over the head from behind with a blunt instrument, Pennington said. The suspect's .22-caliber revolver discharged during the struggle, wounding him in the back of the neck just below the skull.
The car swerved to a stop at Imperial and California Avenue and deputies took Juarez into custody. Deputies said the suspect, who was not seriously wounded, would be transferred to County-USC Medical Center, where he would be booked on suspicion of bank robbery, three counts of kidnaping and grand theft of an automobile.
Amanda Murillo was hospitalized briefly for observation of high blood pressure. Clifton Murillo and Davis were not hurt, and the money was recovered.