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Gunman described as a loner

Darleene Barrientos

Few of the residents at the Griffith Park Apartments and Dude Ranch

knew much about the man in Unit 225, even though he lived there for

more than seven years.

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Jorge Beeton, 47, died Thursday of multiple gunshot wounds after

he held off Glendale and Burbank police departments’ special response

teams with a semiautomatic assault rifle for nearly five hours.

Authorities were trying to determine Friday if Beeton’s wounds were

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self-inflicted or from police gunfire.

Gunfire was reported shortly after 11 a.m. Thursday by residents,

two of whom were pinned down by gunfire and had to be rescued by

Glendale Police officers. The two Glendale Police officers later had

to be rescued by the department’s special response team, which

exchanged gunfire with Beeton to cover the officers’ escape. The

complex is at 400 Paula Ave.

The California Highway Patrol closed the north- and southbound

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lanes of the Golden State (5) Freeway between Western and Alameda

avenues, snarling traffic throughout city streets in Glendale and

Burbank during the standoff. A portion of the Ventura (134) Freeway

was also closed, along with Sonora Avenue between Garden and

Fairfield streets. The department’s crisis negotiation team tried to

communicate with Beeton by phone and bullhorn without success and

finally shot 12 canisters of tear gas into the apartment. When

officers entered the apartment after 4 p.m., they found Beeton dead

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on the floor, Glendale Police Chief Randy Adams said Thursday.

Standing in front of a stucco wall pocked with bullet holes, one

of the building’s owners, Michael Eng, said Friday that Beeton was a

nice person who usually paid his rent on time.

“When I first rented the apartment to him, he had really good

credit -- over 40 lines of credit, including cars and real estate,”

Eng said. “In seven years, he was never late turning in the rent. He

was more of a loner, and there was no way to tell he was tripping

out.”

Eng said Beeton had become more unruly as a tenant. Beeton left

music on loud, left his trash outside and refused to pay his last two

months’ rent. He last spoke to Beeton about a month and a half ago,

Eng said.

The building’s residents now have to repair their windows, doors,

walls and cars hit by gunfire, as well as struggle with the lack of

hot water until gas is restored to the building. The gas was turned

off when police officers prepared to use tear gas Thursday, building

manager Lesley Carter said.

Beeton worked for Pinkerton Security Inc., Eng said, and was

licensed to carry a firearm. Before police sealed Beeton’s apartment,

Eng said he saw seven guns, including one automatic gun.

“This is actually a quiet building,” Eng said. “Knowing him and

knowing he was a quasi-cop -- this was unforeseeable. You would never

have known.”

Gary Bliski was reportedly the only resident who talked to Beeton

on a regular basis, but Bliski said he didn’t even know him that

well.

“I would talk to him over laundry on Sunday mornings,” Bliski

said. “We would talk about the stresses of living and working in Los

Angeles. We were just neighbors who saw each other.”

Beeton seemed to be a quiet, hardworking man, Bliski said.

“He never struck me as a violent man,” Bliski said. “He struck me

as a guy who worked long hours with the goal of getting out of the

big city.”

Beeton could have killed a lot of people if he had wanted to,

Bliski said.

“It’s amazing no one got hurt,” he said. “He could have hit horses

if he wanted -- if he wanted to kill somebody.”

Bliski said he hadn’t seen Beeton in at least a month because he

did his laundry elsewhere.

“I kinda wish I had,” Bliski said. “You think sometimes you could

make a difference. Obviously, you couldn’t in this case.”


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