John McKeel Jr., a Marine guard who survived brutal treatment during the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, died Saturday after he was shot by an armed robber.
McKeel, 38, was shot Friday and declared brain-dead at Victor Valley Community Hospital. He was unhooked from life-support systems at 1:14 a.m. Saturday, said hospital spokesman John Lewis.
A Texas native, McKeel was assigned to the embassy in Tehran when it was overrun by Iranian militants in 1979. He and 51 others were held captive for 444 days.
As a hostage, he endured 42 days of solitary confinement and a diet of rice and water.
McKeel was killed by a masked gunman who held up a tenant of an apartment complex run by McKeel's wife, Trudy.
The robber accosted the tenant as she walked from her car to her apartment. After surrendering about $30, she fought with the robber, pulled off his mask and recognized him as a neighbor, police said.
The woman struggled free and ran to the McKeels' apartment, officials said. The robber followed her and demanded more money. After giving him $30, McKeel and his wife struggled with the robber. The gunman fired four times, striking McKeel twice in the head, police said.
Police arrested Anthony L. Maddox, 21, at an apartment he shared with his girlfriend.