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Cook slain outside Sherman Oaks restaurant by customer, police say

July 4, 2012 |  8:19 am

 The son of a 38-year-old man who was shot and killed at a Sherman Oaks restaurant said he "wants justice" in his father's death.

 

Raul Lopez was killed about 11:10 p.m. on Friday just outside Hoagies & Wings, 14522 Ventura Blvd., Los Angeles police said.

Lopez, who worked as a cook at the restaurant, had just escorted a group of men outside of the restaurant who had become angry while waiting for their food, police said.

"At least one of the men in the group started to argue with restaurant staff. It started to escalate from there," LAPD Detective James Nuttall told KTLA. "The longer it takes to get the food, the situation starts to deteriorate."

Authorities said the men starting yelling racial slurs at employees, causing other customers to leave and prompting Lopez to lead the men out of the restaurant. As he walked back inside, police said, one of the men shot him.

He died later at an area hospital.

"He's just out doing an honest day's work, trying to do the right thing, escorting them from the restaurant to defuse the situation, and puts himself in harm's way," Nuttall said.

Lopez's wife and children appealed to the public to come forward with information on the slaying on Tuesday, the same day police released surveillance video of the suspects.

"He was a very responsible man. He loved his family," Melesio Lopez, his oldest son, said. "I just want justice."

Police ask anyone with information about the incident to call homicide detectives at (818) 374-0040.

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— Kate Mather

twitter.com/katemather

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