Store Clerk Kills Man During Theft Attempt

A North Hollywood convenience store clerk shot and killed a robber and wounded his alleged accomplice after the two stole cases of beer and then attacked the clerk, police said Saturday.

Mariano Chaidez, 23, died outside the Circle Seven Food Mart at about 11 p.m. Friday after a struggle during which the store clerk shot him in the chest, Los Angeles Police Lt. Len Hundshamer said. The clerk also shot and wounded a 17-year-old who was taken to a hospital and arrested on suspicion of murder under a state law allowing murder charges when a death occurs during the commission of a crime.

The clerk, whose name was withheld by police, was not arrested. The investigation is continuing.

"If someone believes their life is in danger and they perceive they are going to be hurt, he has the right to defend himself," Hundshamer said. "That's one of the things the detectives will be looking into here."

Police said Chaidez and the 17-year-old entered the convenience store about 10:45 p.m. and attempted to steal two 18-packs of beer. When the clerk tried to stop them, Hundshamer said, the 17-year-old threw one of the cases at him.

The clerk chased the two out of the store and fired warning shots with a pistol, Hundshamer said, after which Chaidez apparently threw the other case of beer at the clerk, punched him several times in the face and tried to wrest away his gun, which the clerk fired.

Police found the wounded 17-year-old three blocks away. His name is being withheld because he is a juvenile.

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