Police release video images of two men suspected in the killing of Rite Aid employee
The Los Angeles Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying two suspects wanted in connection with the killing of a Rite Aid employee in Glassell Park.
The employee, identified by police as 36-year-old Miguel Penaloza, confronted two men when they attempted to leave the store with two cases of beer without paying, according to an LAPD statement. After a brief struggle over the beer, one of the men shot and killed Penaloza, police said. Penaloza died in the store.
The two men fled through the parking lot. On Saturday morning, LAPD released video images of the two men recorded by store security cameras.
Police described the man who shot Penaloza as 18 to 20 years old, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 200 pounds. He was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, black shorts and black shoes with white trim.
The second man, also thought to be between 18 and 20, was described as 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 145 pounds. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with a large square print on the back side, tan or gray pants and black shoes.
As police continue to look for suspects in the killing, the employee’s union, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770, said workers at the store have been expressing concerns about safety for months.
“His death should not have happened,” the union said in a statement. “For several months, [union] members have highlighted safety issues at this store. ... Rite Aid has refused, in store after store, to provide adequate professional security for its employees.”
Former closing supervisor David Cruz told media outlets that “beer runs” were not uncommon there, and that sometimes a lack of staff made it hard to deal with these issues.
“We always had people coming in [to] steal liquor,” Cruz told ABC-TV Channel 7. “Other guests would see they’d run out with the merchandise and they’d be like, ‘Well, if they did it, why can’t we?’ It was a huge security issue.”
In a list of demands, the union asked the chain to provide security guards at locations where workers are at risk, ensure sufficient staffing to mitigate theft and establish a workplace safety committee.
In response to questions about the union’s reaction, Rite Aid spokesman Chris Savarese repeated a previous statement:
“Rite Aid is shocked and saddened by the killing of a valued associate. We are fully cooperating with law enforcement authorities in their investigation.”
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