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Friend of NBC Universal executive who died from gunshot charged with his murder

March 24, 2011 |  6:33 pm

At first blush, it looked like a terrible accident: NBC Universal executive Brian Russell Kaplon, a married father of two, died March 18 from a gunshot wound to the chest after reportedly mishandling a gun.

But late Wednesday, Los Angeles Police Department homicide detectives told the victim's father, Joe Kaplon, that his son's death wasn't what it seemed but provided few details.

David Andrew Armstrong, 32, was charged Thursday with murder in connection with Kaplon's death, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Armstrong, who was not immediately available for comment, was twice able to raise bail, first when it was set at $1 million. He then came up with $2 million in bail after he was re-arrested.

Kaplon, a finance executive at NBC Universal, was described by friends and co-workers as affable, creative and entreprenurial.

The elder Kaplon said Armstrong had several guns in his house, including rifles.

“Because of one of those guns I had to bury my son yesterday,” Joe Kaplon said in an interview with The Times on Thursday.

Lt. Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said Thursday that Kaplon's death was determined to be a homicide. He died of a gunshot wound to the chest.

The shooting occurred at Armstrong's home in the 20000 block of Vercelli Way at 12:45 a.m. Kaplon was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 15 minutes later.

--Andrew Blankstein and Richard Winton