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Retired deputy fatally shoots purse-snatching supect in La Habra

A retired Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy shot and killed a man as he allegedly tried to steal a woman's purse in La Habra this evening, authorities said.

La Habra police received a call about 5 p.m. from a woman who said her purse had been snatched in the 1300 block of Beach Boulevard. Police then received a second call from the retired deputy, who said he was in his car chasing the suspects, who were fleeing in their vehicle, said Cindy Knapp, a spokeswoman for the La Habra Police Department.

The man opened fire on the alleged purse snatcher in the 700 block of West Imperial Highway, Knapp said. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police are still looking for the driver of the vehicle, a woman who took off running along Imperial Highway. She was described as a Latina, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and 130 pounds with red hair tied in a ponytail. She was wearing a black tank top with black stretch pants and had a mole or tattoo under her right eye, police said.

-- Robert J. Lopez

Comments () | Archives (80)

So now we shoot and kill purse snatchers? Excessive force much?

Good Job Deputy. We need more like you around.

Naturally the retired sheriff deputy thought his life was being threatened.

I'm glad the purse snatcher won't be doing anymore snatching and hopefully the county won't be on the line for this one.

Here's a lession to everyone.....crime doesn't pay!

You're allowed to shoot a purse snatcher? Maybe we'll shoot people who steal shoes, quarters and garbage next.

Congratulations on a job well done and thank you for making our streets safer! I'm sick of these dirt bag parasites and you did the right thing. The mark below that perra's right eye is possibly a tattooed tear drop - sign of one of the cancerous gangs in dire need of extermination. I'm sick of coddling criminals, it's time we treat them as they treat us.

So let me get this straight. This old guy has an unauthorized high-speed chase, shoots and kills someone (wait, that's too nice: he murders someone) for a $30 knock-off Gucci bag, $38.50 in cash, a Sears' charge card, one condom and some warmed over some Juicy Fruit?

That's just great. Just great. Nice job Deputy Fife. I hope they throw the book at em'...

Bravo to this retired Sheriff!

Let's just hope that some jury doesn't give the dead scum's family a few million dollars.

I'd like this hero training new officers. Enough already with this b.s. softness on society's scum. Again, bravo officer!

Put this former cop in jail. HE IS NOT ABOVE THE LAW! He can not kill a man, even a thief, and get away with it. I hope he gets life in jail as a deterrent to other quick trigger retired or off duty policeman. No. No. No. This man is simply, and ONLY, a killer. Put this man in jail. People have gotten LONG jail terms for MUCH less.

Good work retired deputy!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for still protecting us from those losers!


Not a very life threating event to have someone in a retired capacity chase someone in a car, branish a firearm and shoot a person! did the perp. branish anything? maybe the gentleman should have just followed the auto to report their position so that nonretired officers could do their thing(maybe)? We think maybe it may have been her last {dollars} but I'm sure not her last (purse)!. People(ladies)! its tough times everywhere now please pay attention to your environments!!

typical times article,,, "Man opened fire" sounds like he shot a boy scout and not a felony suspect.

The key fact is missing from this story; the purported reason the retired officer opened fire. That someone is a fleeing purse-snatcher is not by itself justification for use of lethal force. Please let us know what justification for deadly force the retired officer had.

A death sentence for a purse snatcher? Who is this ex lawman with a gun who thinks he's judge, jury and executioner of petty street thieves? This is a repulsive story. Poverty and desperation lead people to commit such criminal acts, and addressing the sources of the crimes rather than making vengeance paramount is the only way to prevent or limit future victims. This wild west kill-'em-and-ask-questions-later mentality is far more criminal and immoral than stealing a purse. It has been said that he who fights monsters must be careful not to become one himself. Tragically, the daily news consistently proves that we have already done so.

As the prisons and county jails start early releasing criminals only serving only half sentences, society will see alot more of these types of crimes. Communities can not depend on retired police officers that took out this low life all the time. (Nice Shot by the way)
But this state sure can crack down on legal gun owners when they purchase ammo.(New Law)

Did the Suspect have a weapon and posed an immediate threat to the Victim and retired deputy? Lets hope so, otherwise shooting a purse snatcher, although it's a 211 strong arm robbery, does not in itself classify as a dangerous felony.

Another happy ending. Of course the handwringing, bed wetting liberal gun haters will have something to complain about. Good shot.

Thanks Jose for the insight. Unfortunately, 211 strong arm robbery is a violent felony. The retired dep did the right thing. As the victim was calling in the crime, the retired dep called in to the police to report that he was "following" the suspects, and gave a good description. This is exactly what he was should have done, be a good witness. Too bad for the suspects that they wanted to stop and confront the guy following them. I feel pretty confident in saying that the retired deputy only fired because he felt his life was in danger, not because the bad guy stole a purse.

Good job deputy.

You refer to the victim as the purse snatcher. No, the victim was the woman who as accosted by a petty gang banging criminal who deserved what he got. In this case, death. Take note you low lifes out there who think you can simply steal your way into prosperity (big word you won't understand).

Now u got retired police shooting unarmed suspect, He put his self in danger bt chasing this person. he could gave tha police the plate number and let the real ones do the job, he did"nt have the roght to shoot anyone, he put his self in harns way.smells like wrongful death.

same old story, I feard 4 my life!!!!

It's amazing that I read of all these bloggers having pitty on this scumbag ! Have you thought of how many other people these criminals have made victims of ? I commend this Deputy Sheriff for even assisting the victim in capturing this criminal. I doubt this scumbag had ever contributed to society. Daily these dregs of society prey on hard working people like myself. I have been a victim of a violent crime, have you ? Thank you Deputy. ONE FOR THE GOOD GUYS !

i am not condoning what the retired officer did, but if more responsible and (properly trained and liscensed ) persons carried weapons (like fla, and ariz. residents); than I think that the bad guys will think twice about ripping people off.

To the retired deputy--thank you for stepping up and taking care of business. The Times article is poorly written and failed to comment on the reason you used deadly force. I can only imagine that you were confronted by the suspects you were chasing. Poor choice on their part. One last thing, strong arm robbery is a violent felony, and would count as a "strike". The dead suspect and his girlfriend are most likely 3rd strikers and gang members, not some poor, hungry, down on their luck people.

Mr. Lopez, please explain what a purse-snatching "supect" is. Never heard of that word. Is this someone from another country, which country or is this a new word for a homeless person?

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