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Fatal Wal-Mart attack 'completely random,' officials say

November 2, 2011 | 11:56 am

A Wal-Mart store in Lakewood was the site of a fatal baseball attack
Detectives investigating the unprovoked beating death of a 74-year-old man in a Lakewood Wal-Mart store characterized the attack as among the most brutal they had ever seen.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Ed Hernandez said they are still trying to piece together the background of the 47-year-old suspect and could not immediately confirm reports about whether he was a transient with mental issues.

"What we know is that this attack was completely random," Hernandez said. "They were on opposite sides of the store and didn’t see each other. From what we know, they did not have contact outside. It was just a violent, unprovoked attacked."

Coroner's officials did not release the identity of the victim because his family had not yet been notified.

Sheriff's investigators said the suspect grabbed a metal baseball bat from a rack in the sporting goods section of Wal-Mart and began repeatedly pummeling the defenseless victim in the head and upper body.

"It does not appear there was any communication or warning whatsoever," Hernandez said. "It’s one of the most brutal attacks I have ever seen."

A suspect was detained outside the store and arrested. The Wal-Mart was closed Tuesday evening, and telephone calls early Wednesday to the store, which is advertised as open 24 hours, were not answered.

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-- Ruben Vives and Andrew Blankstein

Photo: A Wal-Mart store in Lakewood was the site of a fatal baseball attack. Credit: KTLA

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