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The Armed Citizen® | Los Angeles

The Armed Citizen® | Los Angeles

As the hub of the American entertainment industry, Los Angeles, Calif., has developed a reputation as both a popular tourist destination and a playground for the wealthy. But the nation’s second-largest city has another, less savory, claim to fame. The Crips, the Bloods, and Mara Salvatrucha all originated in L.A.—and the 45,000 members of these and other gangs who call the City of Angels home have earned L.A. the nickname “Gang Capital of America.” It’s no wonder, then, that despite California’s draconian gun laws, some residents choose to obtain firearms and concealed-carry permits for protection. As the 13 accounts below prove, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

A family was at home in Norwalk, Calif., at around 2:30 a.m. when one of the family members was alerted to a suspicious noise near the home. A male family member retrieved a gun and discovered a knife-wielding intruder had broken through some doors at the rear of the home. The armed resident responded to the threat by shooting the home invader, which prompted the intruder to flee. Police caught up with the home invader a short distance from the residence. (Whittier Daily News, Los Angeles County, Calif., 8/7/2016) 

A California woman was playing the role of getaway driver as her gang-member son looked for a home to burglarize, according to police. When the suspect found a target, he broke the lock on the screen door and began yelling at the female occupant. The burglar gave chase as the woman fled to the backyard, but she halted his advance with three rounds from a .38-caliber revolver. The intruder ran back to his mother, and the homeowner phoned police. When the suspects failed to locate a hospital, this "mother of the year" flagged down a sheriff's deputy. The deputy, however, was responding to the victim's 911 call and apprehended both mother and son. (Los Angeles Daily News, Woodland Hills, Calif., 10/19/2006) 

Three armed men attempted to rob a jewelry store on East Sepulveda Boulevard in Los Angeles. They confronted the storeowner demanding jewels and cash. When they began shooting, the owner returned fire, hitting one of the gunmen. The three fled the store, but the wounded robber collapsed in a nearby market and died. (Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, Calif., 4/7/2004) 

Vanessa Perrigoue had just taken her 4-year-old terrier, Ethan, out for a morning walk in their Laguna Niguel neighborhood when two large dogs jumped the smaller dog. Perrigoue screamed and attempted to rescue Ethan, but the dogs, a pit bull mix and Labrador mix, continued their vicious attack. Upon hearing his wife's screams, Joseph Perrigoue grabbed his .45-caliber handgun and went to her aid. By the time he got there, Ethan had been killed and his attackers had run off. Perrigoue followed the dogs' bloody tracks back to a nearby apartment. When he knocked on the door, both dogs jumped out an open window and attacked him. Perrigoue defended himself, shooting both dogs. Animal-control officers took the wounded dogs away and attempted to contact their owner, whom neighbors said had been out of town for several days. (Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, Calif., 2/27/2003)

The owner of a Beverly Hills, Calif., jewelry store shot and killed an intruder during an apparent robbery attempt. Police responded to reports of shots being fired at about 1:30 p.m. at Mirage Jewelers, said Beverly Hills Police Lt. Gary Gilmond. Officers arrived to find the robber's body lying by the front door and the storeowner behind a counter. The owner told police the man had drawn a gun from his waistband and led him around the empty store. When the culprit put his gun to the owner's head, the jeweler responded by drawing his own gun and shooting the man several times, fatally wounding him. (Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, Calif., 7/26/2002) 

A gun shop employee in Alhambra, Calif., shot and killed one of four men when they attempted to rob the store. The employee was working in the office of the Euro Arms Gun Store one Friday morning when he heard a commotion, said Sheriff's Deputy Roberta Granek. When he exited the office, one of the robbers confronted him, and the employee shot him with a semi-automatic rifle. The wounded man's cohorts fled the store, but police later apprehended two of them. (Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, Calif., 12/23/2001) 

A 32-year-old man was shot and killed in North Hollywood when he slashed through a door screen with a knife and threatened to kill everyone inside. The man, identified as Tony Saucedo, allegedly had assaulted his ex-girlfriend in her home. She then ran to a neighbor's home. A witness said Saucedo, knife in hand, began searching for her. He approached the wrong house and was shot once in the chest as he cut through the screen and attempted to force his way inside. (Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, Calif., 10/16/2001) 

Richard and Yvonne Wilson were making dinner at home one Sunday when a 6-foot, 200-pound man walked in, brandished a gun and ordered the couple upstairs. He then proceeded to tie up the couple with bed sheets and began to rummage through the house. It wasn't long before the home invader returned to his captives, but in the interim, Richard Wilson had time to untie his bonds and arm himself with a gun he keeps for protection. Wilson fired when the man approached the door, sending him fleeing. (Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, Calif., 10/20/1998) 

A 20-year-old woman, kidnapped from a Los Angeles street and driven to a remote area under threat of death, had her screams answered by a resident of one of the last homes on the road. Sheriff's deputies said the citizen grabbed his gun and ran to the rape victim's aid, ordered the rapist to release the woman, escorted her back to his home and called the police. Her assailant had to flee on foot because the quick-thinking woman pulled the keys out of the ignition. (The Daily News, Los Angeles, Calif., 6/23/1990) 

An armed man attempted his sixth holdup of Sim Tang Tah's Los Angeles doughnut shop in 12 days, but this time, after surrendering his cash, the store owner drew a revolver. He fired and wounded the robber, who fled only to collapse several blocks from the store. Tah was not charged. (Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, Calif., 5/5/1986) 

Two strangers strolled into the small Los Angeles candy shop operated by Primitivo Nieves, loitered a bit, then grabbed the elderly owner. One produced a knife, but Nieves responded with a pistol, shooting his assailant once. The other robber also pulled a knife, but was shot twice. Both would-be robbers died. (Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, Calif., 2/23/1986) 

Having suffered several burglaries—one so recent that she'd had no time to repair a broken window—Gayla Marie Brown of Los Angeles had one of the "inner doors" of her home reinforced to discourage intruders. She also borrowed a gun from her father as an extra defense. She was soon forced to rely on it when a man entered her house through the broken window and battered down the reinforced door. She fired several shots as the man burst though the barrier, killing him. (Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, Calif., 11/24/1983) 

Two members of a notorious Los Angeles street gang broke through three locks into the home of 81-year-old Henry Friedo and demanded cash. Just then, an unidentified friend of Friedo's entered and trained a pistol on the two. As he turned to call police, the two toughs charged. He fired twice, hitting each robber in the midsection and putting the pair to flight. Police caught them later by following the blood trail. (The Herald-Examiner, Los Angeles, Calif., 9/30/1981)