After the dust settled, it became increasingly clear that the
response to last week’s triple shooting was impressive on several
At first the details were murky. Our intrepid reporter Barbara
Diamond displayed a rare shakiness in her voice when she relayed
early information that an officer was dead -- a rumor that was soon
clarified to be untrue. Reporter Suzie Harrison remained on edge all
day waiting to hear more about the victim at the store, where she
shops on a regular basis.
But once Mary Castillo, another reporter, talked to enough
witnesses and police officers to get the story straight, the
Coastline Pilot office was relieved to hear the officer was very much
alive. He had a minor injury, and the other victim would likely live,
we learned. With more detailed information came an understanding that
the events of that afternoon were both shocking and impressive.
First, it’s unbelievable that an injured Jacques Nenijian could
have escaped and made it next door for help -- while his girlfriend
somehow had the strength to take the robber into the back room where
he loaded up his bag with loot.
Then, within minutes, it seems the entire Laguna Beach Police
Department showed up. And though not experienced with shootouts, the
officers managed not to hit any innocent bystanders in the crossfire.
Unfortunately, officer Lawrence Bammer was injured, but his bullet
proof vest likely saved his life, or at least saved him from major
Sure, it would have been ideal if the suspect hadn’t been killed,
but considering all the possible outcomes of a shootout on Coast
Highway, it’s a lesser of evils. Officers reportedly chose their
shotguns and pistols over the high-powered rifles also at their
Though most of the officers had known Bammer since he was in high
school and they knew he was shot, they first apprehended the suspect
to ensure no one else would become a victim.
Witnesses say the police and rescue workers are heroes -- they’ve
even taken the time to write letters about them.
Because of some quick work, officer Bammer is already home and
Nenijian is recovering.
While Nenijian has no health insurance, of course, even that has a
bright side. Already, people are trying to get a fund together for
his hospital bills. The immediate response to this neighbor’s need is
heartening, and the Pilot wishes the effort nothing but success.