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Witness to Wal-Mart baseball bat killing: 'It was awful, so awful'

Lakewood-walmart

A Wal-Mart store video system captured a man beating a 74-year-old customer to death in the Lakewood store's sporting goods section, authorities said.

Sheriff's Department Homicide Bureau Lt. Eddie Hernandez said the Tuesday attack appeared to be methodical and unprovoked.

One witness, Jennifer Thompson, told KCBS-TV what she saw and heard horrified her.

"It was very scary — very, very scary, to hear the noise of someone's life being taken away," she told the station. "Noises like moans and groans ... you could hear when he hit him. It was awful, so awful. And then I went around the corner and peeked ... and he just walked out like it was nothing."

The store's security video shows that the assailant was in the store and had been wandering the aisles for a short time before the victim entered, Hernandez said.

At some point, the assailant ended up in the sporting goods section and removed a baseball bat from a display rack and began walking the nearby aisles, stopping only when he spotted the victim.

Witnesses told authorities that he began swinging the bat swiftly and furiously at the customer's head.

There was no evidence that the two men had prior contact — inside or immediately outside the Wal-Mart — although Hernandez stressed that the investigation was still in its early stages.

The suspect in the attack, identified as Richard Lawrence Kalfin, 47, had been detained at the scene and was later booked on suspicion of murder. He is being held in lieu of $1-million bail and is due in court Thursday morning in Bellflower.

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--Ruben Vives and Andrew Blankstein

Photo: KTLA News

 
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