$20K reward offered in killing of Alhambra motel clerk during attempted robbery

- Authorities announced a $20,000 reward this week for information that helps solve the killing of a woman who was gunned down during an attempted robbery at an Alhambra motel, where she was working a night shift.

Xiuxia "Michelle'' Chen, a 44-year-old mother of two, was confronted by an unidentified suspect who pointed a handgun at her about 11 p.m. June 2 while she was working at the Ambassador Inn in the 2700 block of West Valley Boulevard.

"The suspect demanded money, reached over the counter and fatally shot Michelle,'' then fled empty-handed, according to the sheriff's department. He was in the lobby for less than a minute.

At a news conference Tuesday morning, detectives released security video showing the suspect pointing a handgun and shouting at the victim, asking her at one point, "Do you want to die?'' Chen is heard telling the suspect that she doesn't have any money.

He was about 5 feet 6 inches to 6 feet tall, with a medium build, and wore dark clothing, including a "dark hooded sweater'' and one dark glove.

Security video also was released of a woman of Asian descent who may have seen the suspect leaving the crime scene. She's regarded only as a possible witness, authorities said.

The city of Alhambra and a local business -- Prime Time Shuttle -- each contributed $10,000 in reward money. Chen's husband, Armando Escandor, works for the shuttle company.

"All I want is justice for my loving wife,'' Escandor said through tears at the news conference.

Her son, Armando Escandor Jr., addressed his remarks directly to the suspect.

"All I want to tell this man, though, is, why did you have to go too far -- so far as to take away an amazing woman from this world and from the lives of my family?'' he asked.

Chen and Escandor also had an 11-year-old daughter. Escandor told the Los Angeles Times shortly after the killing that he and Chen were married in 1996 after they met while working for the same garment factory in Saipan. They moved to Los Angeles in 2001. Their son serves in the U.S. Navy, and Chen had been working at the motel for about six years, including two as manager.

Anyone with information on the crime was urged to call the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500, or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.

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