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Killing of businessman in Stevenson Ranch a mystery

December 23, 2009 |  4:29 pm

Investigators have yet to identify a suspect or determine a motive in the death of a businessman who was gunned down in a Stevenson Ranch parking lot Tuesday night moments after leaving a holiday party.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide detectives said Nabil Tawab, 37, of Porter Ranch was fatally shot about 6:30 p.m. near a Wells Fargo bank building in the 26600 block of The Old Road.

Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station found Tawab lying on the ground near his car.

According to sheriff’s officials, Tawab and several business associates were having a holiday party inside an office building. People who attended the gathering told investigators that Tawab had left the party to retrieve something from his car, which was parked just outside the front door. Moments later, they heard two to three gunshots.

Paramedics took Tawab to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.

Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. David Infante described the location of the shooting as a commercial area of Stevenson Ranch, an affluent enclave nestled in the foothills of the Santa Susana Mountains just west of the 5 Freeway.

On its website, the Stevenson Ranch Homeowners Assn. describes the community as “one of the safest in comparison with the rest of the Santa Clarita Valley.”

On Wednesday, residents said they remained confident that their typically low-crime community would remain so.

“This is a very safe bedroom community,” said Ron Mechsner, president of the West Ranch Town Council, an advisory council that represents the communities of Stevenson Ranch, Sunset Pointe, Southern Oaks and Westridge before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. “We are not immune to violent crime, but it’s not indicative to our area.”

In addition to patrols by sheriff’s deputies,  a private security firm hired by the homeowners association’s management company conducts 24-hour patrols in the area.

The community also has an active Neighborhood Watch committee.

Mechsner, a Stevenson Ranch resident since 2000, said that when crimes do occur in the community, they typically involve offenses such as burglaries or thefts from vehicles.

He added that people should “be aware of their circumstances, use common sense and take precautions,” and that there should be no need for panic.

“We are confident that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department does an excellent job; and they will investigate and find the culprit,” Mechsner said.

-- Ann M. Simmons