Man shot to death while escorting wife to church in Westmont area

The man who was shot to death in the Westmont area Wednesday evening was walking his wife to church at the time, authorities said.

The shooting, which also injured another man, occurred about 7 p.m. in the 8800 block of South Vermont Avenue near the 88th Street Temple Church, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The 36-year-old man was walking with his wife to church when he stopped to talk with a 35-year-old man near a parking lot entrance.


That’s when an adult male suspect confronted them with a firearm and, after a brief exchange, opened fire, the Sheriff’s Department said. The suspect fled the scene on foot.

The victim was taken to a hospital, where he died. He was identified by officials with the L.A. County coroner’s office as Los Angeles resident John Matthews.

HOMICIDE REPORT: Tracking killings in L.A. County

The shooting marked the second homicide in the Westmont neighborhood this year. About a mile and a half south on Vermont, Robert Brewer, 21, was killed Jan. 23.

Since 2007, the area has seen 102 homicides, according to The Times’ Homicide Report. In a county of 10 million people, the unincorporated Westmont neighborhood is among the deadliest places to live, according to an analysis of homicide data.

The other man in Wednesday’s shooting was taken to a hospital in critical condition but is expected to survive, Capt. Eli Vera of the Sheriff’s Department said. His identity has not been released.

Anyone with information on Wednesday’s shooting is asked to call the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

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