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2 Wounded in Cafe Robbery

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Three men ordered coffee to go, then robbed patrons and employees of a Vietnamese cafe at gunpoint late Friday, leaving two people with minor injuries, police said.

The two people, who police did not identify, were both injured by a single bullet fired by one of the bandits, officials said. One person was hit in the hand, the other in the shoulder, Westminster Police Lt. Bill Lewis said. Both were treated at Huntington Beach Medical Center, he said.

The shooting erupted just before midnight at Phuong Trinh Cafe, 7915 Westminster Blvd. Witnesses told police that three men entered the cafe, ordered coffee and sat down at a table to wait.

But before the order was complete, the men stood up and each pulled out a handgun, yelling for everyone to get down, Lewis said. The gunmen fled with about $1,600 in cash and other items, he added.

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The shooting was the latest in a string of such incidents plaguing Vietnamese coffeehouses and restaurants in the Little Saigon area. Three people were killed and eight others wounded during a four-month period last year.

A teen-ager was killed at Garden Grove’s Cafe Phuong Nga in July, and an April dispute at Cafe Truc Mai, also in Garden Grove, resulted in three injuries.

Also in April, an off-duty security guard shot two men--one fatally--in self-defense at Westminster’s Pho Tien Canh. Six days before that, two men opened fire at Cafe Mozart--also in Westminster--killing a 20-year-old man and hurting three other people.

“I don’t know if they’re any more susceptible. I don’t know if this is some organized effort or if it’s a series of people trying to hit that type of business,” Lewis said. “It’s just like someone trying to hit a series of 7-Eleven stores.”

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