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County opens bullet-riddled apartment unit

Josh Kleinbaum

Two neighbors stood in front of the door Thursday, shaking their

heads at the scene inside Unit 225 at Griffith Park Apartments, where

their neighbor, Jorge Beeton, held Burbank and Glendale police at bay

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for several hours the week before.

“Looking at all the damage here today, it’s unbelievable that

nobody got hurt,” said Peter Aguilar, who lived three doors down from

Beeton in the apartment complex at 400 Paula Ave. “I was in my

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apartment when it all happened. It was very reminiscent of the OK

Corral, or a Wild West show.”

After an investigator from the Los Angeles County Public

Administrator’s Office removed wooden boards that had covered Unit

225 since May 29, Aguilar and other residents looked over the

remnants of the standoff.

The cramped one-bedroom apartment gave a glimpse into the life of

Beeton, who fired shots at police and passersby, then engaged police

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in a five-hour siege before killing himself, according to

authorities. Police had not determined a motive for Beeton’s actions

by Thursday.

The door is peppered with bullet holes, 146 in all -- 144 of them

small and cluttered sprays. The other two are larger, about the size

of a hockey puck. All of the shots appear to have been from inside

the apartment.

The apartment’s lone window, next to the door, is mostly

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destroyed. One pane is completely gone, and the other is riddled with

bullet holes, with some large pieces missing. A sticker remains,

though, declaring Beeton a member of the Neighborhood Watch program.

Bullet holes cover the walls surrounding the door and window.

Inside, empty bottles, milk cartons, cereal boxes and dirty

laundry are scattered across the floor. A folding table has been

converted into a makeshift desk, with a computer and other electronic

equipment. Bullet holes have made a shambles of the computer monitor.

Against the left wall is a bookshelf, a filing cabinet and another

folding table, with a miniature refrigerator on the table. Atop the

bookshelf is a small television. Like the computer monitor, the TV

was shot to pieces.

Behind the desk, a mattress and a box spring are turned on their

sides, as if to form a barricade.

In the closet, clothes hang fresh from the dry cleaner, still

covered and tagged, including Beeton’s security guard uniform. He had

recently left his job as a security guard for Pinkerton Security Inc.

Two miniature police cars sit on a bookshelf, and his book

collection focuses on weapons and law enforcement.

“He was like a cop wannabe,” property owner Michael Eng said. “He

hadn’t come out of his apartment in two months.”

A can of Del Monte mixed vegetables still sits on the table next

to the refrigerator. A bullet had torn through the side of the can.

Much of the apartment is covered by a thick pink film, especially

near the door and the window, the remains from tear-gas grenades that

police pumped into the apartment May 29. The gas had not lost its

potency Thursday, and cleaning out the apartment was nearly

impossible.

“I can only stay in there about 10 minutes at a time,” said Mike

Freeman, a handyman who was trying to clean the apartment. “I was in

there cleaning up, and I accidentally touched my face, and it burned

the heck out of my face.”

The gas seeped through the walls, and Eng said he had to move the

resident in Apartment 226 into a new unit. Eng estimates the damage

could cost him anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000.

“A lot of people were taking a look to see what’s going on,”

Freeman said. “It’s like a tourist stop.”


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