Man Charged in Killing of Rite Aid Employee

Hand And Gavel.

Photo: Universal Images Group Editorial

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A 20-year-old man was charged today in connection with the shooting death of a Rite Aid employee in Glassell Park who was killed while confronting shoplifters.

Anthony Lemus of Glassell Park is set to be arraigned Aug. 26 in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on one count each of murder and second-degree robbery involving the July 15 killing of Miguel Penaloza, 36.

The charges include allegations that Lemus personally used a handgun in the commission of the crime.

Lemus surrendered Monday at the Los Angeles Police Department's Central station, according to Los Angeles police. He has remained behind bars in lieu of $2 million bail, jail records show.

A second suspect was still being sought, police said.

Penaloza was shot when he tried to stop two young men attempting to steal two cases of beer from the business in the 4000 block of Eagle Rock Boulevard, according to the LAPD and reports from the scene.

He died at the scene of a gunshot wound to the chest, according to online records from the coroner's office.

“Violent crime rattles our neighborhoods and creates fear among the people who live in them. Our thoughts go out to the victim's family over such a tragic and needless loss of life,'' District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement shortly after the case was filed.

Shortly after the crime, police released surveillance photos of the suspects, described as 18 to 20 years old, who fled through the parking lot.

The store was closed for a couple days after the shooting, as employees mourned and union officials accused the company of failing to provide adequate security.

“No one should have to fear for their lives while they shop or work in a retail store. Rite Aid has refused, in store after store, to provide adequate professional security for its employees. Even after death threats and a police investigation took place in this store, the company placed profit over safety and refused security for its employees,'' according to a statement from UFCW 770.

Rite Aid was “shocked and saddened by the killing of a valued associate at our store in Glassell Park,'' said Chris Savarese, director of public relations for the national chain. “The prayers and thoughts of the entire Rite Aid team are with our associate, his family and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time. Rite Aid will offer support to the associate and his family through our associate relief fund and is offering other associates at that location support and counseling. We are fully cooperating with law enforcement authorities in their investigation.''

A GoFundMe page established to help the slain man's family had raised more than $51,000 as of Wednesday afternoon.

“Miguel's beautiful spirit touched the hearts of everyone who knew him and his death has left so many heartbroken and in disbelief. He is mourned by his whole community,'' a message on the page says.

The page also notes that Penaloza is survived by his mother, father, brother, sister, three nephews and partner. It can be viewed

LAPD Central Bureau homicide detectives urged anyone with information about the crime to call them at 213-996-4180 or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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