Dispatch: 'It's still a mystery why he was on that street'
Seventeen years ago, Akop Aduryan moved to Los Angeles from his native Armenia, hoping to make a better life for his young family.
His country was war torn and in economic shambles after the break-up of the Soviet Union. Together, he and his wife, Ruzanna, who was pregnant with their second child, decided to start over in America.
Nine days after they arrived, his wife gave birth to another son. They shared a small three-bedroom home in North Hollywood with 12 family members.
Aduryan, who had received two degrees in Armenia, worked making jewelry with his brother to support his family. After they moved into their own apartment, he and his brother worked together as mechanics. With money still tight, four years ago he took a second job as a night security guard.
Each weeknight his routine was the same. He would get home from his work as a mechanic around 6 p.m., take a short nap, then leave for his job as a security guard at 8 p.m. He would return home for roughly half an hour between 9 and 9:45 p.m., then leave again for work and come home at midnight, said his older son Chris, 18.
On July 23, Aduryan followed his usual pattern. He arrived home about 9 p.m. on his break from guarding outside an insurance company building at Victory Boulevard and Laurel Canyon Boulevard in North Hollywood. Forty-five minutes later he went back to work.
What happened next makes no sense to his wife and sons.
About 11 p.m., Aduryan got into a heated argument with a group of Armenian men in a somewhat secluded area in the 7500 block of Goodland Avenue in Sun Valley – along the back fence of the Charles Leroy Lowman Special Education Center, a school for special needs children.
He was more than two miles from his security guard post.
A woman who lives on the street said she was watching television when she heard shots.
“It sounded like firecrackers on July 4th. One after another like boom, boom, boom, boom,” said Edna, who did not want to be identified with her last name because the assailants have not been found. “About an hour later a policeman came to my door and said it wasn’t firecrackers. He told me a guy was shot and he was killed....I said a little prayer.”
Edna said she had spoken to several of her neighbors about the incident, and nobody could recall something similar happening on her street in the last 25 years.
LAPD Det. Kirk Patrick said witnesses were unable to identify the suspects because the shooting happened in a somewhat dark and secluded area.
Patrick said police arrested a person in connection with Aduryan’s killing, but the district attorney’s office declined to file charges because of insufficient evidence. Patrick said police determined the incident was not related to Aduryan’s work as a security guard. He said he believed Aduryan had agreed to meet the man or men who killed him at that location.
Aduryan’s family described him as a loving man, always willing to put his family before himself. Chris Aduryan said they had to force him to travel and take time off from work. He had saved up to buy his wife nice earrings for their 20th anniversary, and had recently spent a weekend with his family at Zuma beach near Malibu.
They said he tended to interfere when he saw something happening he thought was wrong, and his son guessed that that tenacity might have gotten him killed.
Ruzanna Aduryan thumbed through old family photo albums and at times tried to hold back tears, recalling her recent wedding anniversary and holding the earrings he had given her.
"It's still a mystery why he was on that street," she said.
Anyone with information about this killing is asked to call LAPD North Hollywood division detectives at (818) 623-4075.
--Anthony Pesce in Sun Valley and North Hollywood
Top photo: Street memorial at the site of Akop Aduryan's July 23 shooting death in Sun Valley Credit: Anthony Pesce/Los Angeles Times Middle photo: Akop Aduryan in family photo. Bottom photo: Akop Aduryan, standing, with his wife and two sons in a family photo.