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Bank Guard Killed by Bandit During Holdup

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 66-year-old bank guard was shot and killed Thursday by robbers who stole about $500 from a Home Savings Bank branch in South-Central Los Angeles, authorities said.

“It was totally unprovoked,” Los Angeles Police Lt. Gabe Ornelas said. “The guard never took his gun out of his holster.”

Two armed men entered the bank in the 5700 block of South Vermont Avenue shortly after 1 p.m., Ornelas said. One man grabbed the guard, identified as Leverne Grisson, and held a gun on him while the other vaulted the bank counter and started taking cash from drawers, the lieutenant said.

The man holding Grisson suddenly shot him, Ornelas said. The eight to 10 customers in the bank were not injured, he said.

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Grisson, an employee of Pinkerton Security Investigations Services Inc., who had worked at the bank since 1984, “was considered to be one of Pinkerton’s superior officers,” said company spokesman Owen Daley. “He was a very responsible man.”

Grisson was taken to California Hospital, where he died, a hospital spokeswoman said.

“It was very, very quick and tragic,” Ornelas said.

The two bandits escaped on foot, running south on Vermont, he said. He described the man who vaulted the counter as a black male between 21 and 25, 5-feet-10, 185 pounds, muscular, with short black hair and stained yellow teeth. Witnesses were unable to provide a specific description of the man who allegedly shot the guard.

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Pinkerton Chairman Tom Wathen announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the robbers, Daley said, calling the shooting a “coldblooded execution.” Home Savings Chairman Richard Diehl also announced a $10,000 reward, bringing the total to $20,000.


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