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7-Eleven Urges its LA-Area Stores to Close Overnight After Series of Deadly Shootings

7-Eleven shooting suspects
Surveillance image of the suspect in a series of fatal shootings at 7-Eleven stores in Southern California. Courtesy Brea Police

A manhunt was underway Tuesday for a man believed to have committed a string of robberies and shootings in 7 eleven stores that hit three Southern California counties, leaving at least two dead.

Authorities say three more people were injured in robberies at stores in Brea, La Habra, Santa Ana, Riverside, Ontario and Upland.

The rash of violence — which took place on July 11, or July 7-11 — prompted 7-Eleven to recommend that Los Angeles-area stores temporarily close their doors.

“Right now, our focus is on franchisee, partner and customer safety,” according to a company statement. “With that in mind, we encouraged stores in the Los Angeles area to close overnight.”

Brea Police they said they answered at 4:17 am. on Monday to the 7-Eleven store at Lambert Road and North Brea and found a male store clerk fatally shot in what officers believed to be a robbery.

The employee was later identified as 40-year-old Matthew Hirsch, who died at the scene, police said.

According to Brea police, this shooting is believed to be related to another shooting that occurred a short time later in La Habra.

According La Habra Police Sgt. Eric Roy, officers responded at 4:55 a.m. on Monday in a robbery at the 7-Eleven store at 381 E. Whittier Blvd. When officers arrived, they found two gunshot victims who were taken to a hospital by Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics, he said.

Both victims in the La Habra shooting were expected to survive, Roy said. Police said the victims were an employee and a customer.

At a news conference late Monday morning, Brea Police Chief Phil Rodriguez said, “Based on some preliminary evidence we believe he is possibly the same suspect.”

Rodriguez said investigators are looking into possible connections to shootings at 7-Eleven Monday morning in Santa Ana and Riverside.

“We are aware of other incidents that have occurred in the south country at 7-Elevens,” Rodriguez said. “Obviously at this point we can’t confirm if they are connected, but we can assure you that our detectives are looking into it.”

Santa Ana Police said 24-year-old Matthew Rule of Santa Ana was fatally shot at 3:25 a.m. Monday outside the 7-Eleven store in the 300 block of East 17th Street. Police found Rule in the parking lot with a gunshot wound to the upper body, Santa Ana Police Department. Maria Lopez said. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

The suspect apparently never entered the store in Santa Ana and appears to have robbed Rule, Lopez said. It was unclear whether Rule was a customer of the store or why he was there, Lopez said.

Based on surveillance photos of the suspect in the Brea and La Habra shootings, Santa Ana police said they believe he was the same suspect in Santa Ana, Lopez said.

In Riverside, a customer was shot at about 1:50 a.m. on Monday in what police described as an apparent robbery at the 7-Eleven store at 5102 La Sierra Ave., according to Riverside Police Officer Ryan Railsback. Police said the shooting victim was in critical condition.

“The suspect entered the store, brandished a firearm and robbed the clerk, then shot a customer before leaving the store on foot,” Railsback said.

The first stickup may have happened in Ontario. Police said shortly after midnight Monday, the 7-Eleven at 636 N. Vine Ave. was robbed. The suspect held up the store with a handgun, but no shots were fired and no one was injured, police said.

In Upland, the 7-Eleven store at 2410 W. Arrow Route was robbed at 12:40 a.m. on Monday, police said. The researchers at Upland reached out to other agencies to see if there was a connection.

7-Eleven issued an initial statement Monday, saying, “Our hearts go out to the victims and their loved ones. We are gathering information about this terrible tragedy and are cooperating with local law enforcement.”

The Brea location where Hirsch was fatally shot was one of several stores that chose to close Monday night and early Tuesday morning. Yellow police tape was draped across the parking lot in the early hours of the morning, and a makeshift memorial next to the parking lot has been set up for Hirsch.

Anyone with information was asked to call Brea Police Department Detective Alfred Rodriguez at 714-671-4438 or alfredr@cityofbrea.net.

City News Service contributed to this article.

7-Eleven Urges its LA-Area Stores to Close Overnight After Series of Deadly Shootings Source link 7-Eleven Urges its LA-Area Stores to Close Overnight After Series of Deadly Shootings

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