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Protected Neighbor’s Truck : Man Killed During Chase of Youths Caught in Theft

Times Staff Writer

A North Hollywood man died Monday after he was shot while chasing a group of auto thieves he had surprised as they attempted to steal a neighbor’s pickup truck, Los Angeles police said.

Darris Garvin, 37, died at St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank at 12:40 a.m., about 2 1/2 hours after he was shot at the intersection of Troost Avenue and Burbank Boulevard, police said. No arrests were made.

After a day of playing softball and eating dinner with friends, Garvin, a film editor and part-time bartender, returned at 10:10 p.m. Sunday to the California Club apartment complex in the 5600 block of Colfax Avenue where he lived, Detective Mike Coffey said.

Surprised Thieves

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As Garvin drove through the electronic security gate into the large complex’s underground parking garage, he apparently surprised three or four thieves who were in the garage attempting to steal a pickup truck that belonged to another tenant, Coffey said.

The thieves, described as ranging in age from 17 to 22, fled from the garage as Garvin parked his car. Garvin then went after them.

“He ran after them and chased them for a block,” Coffey said. “He may have thought they were just juveniles, and it may have gone through his mind that he could scare them. The last thing you ever think of is being confronted by a lethal weapon.”

At Burbank and Troost, one of the suspects turned and fired a gun at Garvin. Shot in the stomach, Garvin stumbled into a convenience store at the corner, and police and paramedics were called. Police said the suspects may have fled from the area in a light-colored delivery van with graffiti marking the side of it.

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‘Wanted to Do Right’

Garvin’s roommate, Tim Biddle, said Garvin had lived in the complex for more than two years, knew most of the tenants and probably knew the suspects did not belong there.

“He wanted to do right, that is all,” Biddle said. “That was Darris. I didn’t think it was like him to go jumping into a situation. But he worked hard for everything he had. He probably saw those guys and thought, ‘Why should they take what somebody else has worked hard for?’ He went after them.”

Biddle said Garvin, originally from Hedgesville, W. Va., came to Los Angeles 2 1/2 years ago to work in the film business after working as a film and TV editor in the Washington area.

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Police said they do not know how the thieves got into the garage. Coffey said it was not unusual for car thieves to be armed, though shootings involving car thefts are infrequent.

“Who knows who’s carrying a gun these days,” he said.


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