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Los Angeles: A 55-year-old, off-duty Los Angeles Police officer foiled a robbery last night, February 4, 2006, after a man tried to hold up the Pavilions market in Sherman Oaks at gun point. The suspect was shot one time and suffered a broken collarbone.
The robbery began around 9:20 PM, when 22-year-old Jonathan F. Reyes walked into the store, carrying a backpack. With customers watching in checkout lanes, he pointed his .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun and took money from the clerk in lane number 3. Reyes turned to lane number 4 where, unknown to him, stood the 29-year LAPD veteran, assigned to Hollywood Area.
“Officers learn in the academy that the most prudent action off duty is to be a good witness,” said spokesman Lieutenant Paul Vernon. “But sometimes the suspects can force your hand, and you have to take action. You must feel confident in your ability and make the decision in a split second .”
The suspect approached the second line of customers, still pointing the gun, and an officer-involved shooting occurred. Reyes fell to the floor, bleeding. He was taken to Northridge Hospital. His condition was upgraded from critical to stable around 11:30 PM.
There may have been as many as 30 witnesses in the store when the robbery occurred. No one else was injured. The Pavilions is located at 14845 Ventura Boulevard.
The suspect’s backpack, which contained cash, could be seen lying on the floor, just inside the store entrance. His gun lay near by. A window near the entrance was shattered, apparently by a bullet. Preliminarily, police do not believe the suspect fired his weapon.
The San Fernando Valley has seen a 40-percent increase in robberies in the first month of this year, most of them business robberies. Several robbery rings have been plaguing the Valley and frustrating detectives for a number of months. One serial robber, known as the “Backpack Bandit,” may be responsible for as many as 35 robberies. Detectives will be trying to determine if Reyes is the so-called “Backpack Bandit.”
Jonathan Reyes was on probation and had outstanding warrants. He will be charged with armed robbery.
Force Investigation Division will investigate the officer-involved shooting. Representatives of the District Attorney’s office and the Inspector General also responded to the scene.