SAN BERNARDINO – A 25-year-old security guard was found shot to death at a local marijuana dispensary on Monday night.
Anthony Pineda, of Rowland Heights in neighboring Los Angeles County, was reportedly scheduled to work at this weekend’s Academy Awards show. Two gunmen, described to police as black males, came into the strip mall shop shortly before 10 p.m. at 2844 West Rialto Avenue, near Pepper Avenue, said police.
Lt. Rich Lawhead, spokesman for San Bernardino police, said marijuana dispensaries are illegal, adding there are approximately 45 known businesses within the city, all of which are clandestine in nature.
He said the two men forced their way into the rear portion of the store, which looks to be an eyebrow threading business from the appearance of the storefront. Lawhead said the men forced their way in where the “products” were located. “It appears that the security guard returned fire,” said Lawhead, “and one of the suspects was shot.”
The suspects then fled from the business. San Bernardino Fire Department paramedics pronounced Pineda dead at the scene. Evidence of Pineda striking one of the assailants included the appearance of bloody footprints leading from the location. In addition, there was an amount of blood loss left at the scene, said Lawhead.
It’s possible the assailant was critically wounded. Lawhead said witnesses who saw the assailants escape across the parking lot heard one of the suspects saying he had been struck. Police, however, had difficulty entering the business because it had been locked, forcing law enforcement officers to break down the front door to enter.
There were reports that the dispensary might have been previously located at a different location in the strip mall. Lawhead said employees were not initially cooperating with investigators, nor was it disclosed if anything was taken from the location, including marijuana. He said investigators weren’t certain if employees had locked Pineda inside the business, or if the security door was shut after everyone escaped the building.
Lawhead disclosed that a call to the police dispatch center had reported the assailants were trying to rob the store. “The reporting party advised that the security guard had been shot and was probably dead,” he said. Police said security credentials were discovered in Pineda’s car that indicated he was scheduled to work the Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday.
LATIMES: Police ID security guard killed