LOS ANGELES - A car sale meetup took a deadly turn in South Los Angeles after a man got hit by a car trying to run away from a group of suspected robbers.
Lieutenant Derrick Alfred from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide said the initial call was reported as a pedestrian crash Friday afternoon.
"Our investigators got there, started reviewing video along with the deputies and we learned from interviews that we conducted that the victim, who is a Hispanic male in his 50s had taken his family, essentially, which included his wife and his daughter to that area for the purpose of purchasing a vehicle," said Alfred.
The vehicle was a red Nissan Altima that was reported stolen by a different law enforcement agency.
However, the victim arranged a meet up with a man who told him he was selling the car. Alfred said the victim was dropped off by his family while they circled the block to look for a parking spot. The family arrived back to the meet-up spot in time to witness the assault.
"The man [posing as the car seller] began to assault him [the victim], and we believe his [suspect] intent was to rob him [victim] of the cash he brought for the purpose of purchasing that vehicle," said Alfred.
During the altercation between the victim and the suspect, two more suspects approached the victim and assaulted him.
"Initially, the reports were that he [victim] was shot in the head but upon interviews and looking at video, it looks like he was struck in the head with some type of object which caused him to be disoriented," said Alfred.
Alfred said one of the suspects was at least armed with a knife, but they do not believe a gun was involved. However, after being hit in the head, the victim attempted to run away and was hit by a vehicle.
"We know this happened right in front of his family so his family was there to witness it," said Alfred.
The victim was identified as 52-year-old Eugenio Paz.
Deputies are looking through the victim's phone to determine how he met the suspect, and if it was through an app.
The suspects did not flee the scene in a vehicle, but instead ran away going westbound on 109th from Budlong. Deputies have reviewed home surveillance video but are looking for more video in the neighborhood.
"This is a tragic situation of a man trying to do good for his family and buy his son a car and now he's dead, so we'd really like to get to the bottom of this," said Alfred.
Alfred recommends meeting at a public location like a police department for transactions for safety.
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