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Remarkable response in city’s time of crisis

After the dust settled, it became increasingly clear that the

response to last week’s triple shooting was impressive on several

sides.

At first the details were murky. Our intrepid reporter Barbara

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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

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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

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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

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surgery.

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

fingertips.

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.


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