Following a rash of shootings and robberies, 7-Eleven is advising several California locations to alter their operating hours.
Law enforcement across the Los Angeles area and beyond is currently engaged in a manhunt, according to the Times of San Diego, searching for a suspect in numerous shootings and robberies at 7-Eleven stores. Businesses in Brea, La Habra, Santa Ana, Riverside, Ontario and Upland were targeted on Monday, resulting in two deaths and three injuries.
As a result, 7-Eleven has ordered that locations in the Los Angeles area close down overnight.
“Right now, our focus is on franchisee, associate, and customer safety,” the company said in an official statement. “With that in mind, we encouraged stores in the Los Angeles area to close overnight.”
The first incident began when police in Brea, California, were called to a 7-Eleven store around 4 am local time. Upon arrival, officers found a dead male clerk, 40-year-old Matthew Hirsch, apparently shot during a robbery.
A similar incident occurred at a 7-Eleven roughly four miles away in La Habra shortly after the one in Brea, and was eventually determined to be related. Two clerks in La Habra were shot, but expected to survive.
“Based on some preliminary evidence we do believe it is possibly the same suspect,” Brea Police Captain Phil Rodriguez said during a Monday press conference. “We are aware of other incidents that have occurred in the southland at 7-Elevens. We obviously at this point can’t confirm whether they are connected, but we assure you our detectives are looking into that.”
Police later linked the suspect to another shooting in Santa Ana, roughly an hour prior to the Brea incident, in which 24-year-old Matthew Rule was fatally wounded, later pronounced dead by officers on the scene. The shooting took place outside of a 7-Eleven, but the suspect reportedly did not attempt to rob that location, only stealing from Rule. Surveillance photos from the various stores have led police to believe they are all the same suspect.
“Our hearts are with the victims and their loved ones,” 7-Eleven said in an initial statement on Monday. “We are gathering information on this terrible tragedy and working with local law enforcement.”
Any members of the public with information relevant to the case are asked to reach out to Brea Police Department Detective Alfred Rodriguez at 714-671-4438 or [email protected]
Newsweek has reached out to the Brea Police Department for comment.
The rash of crime comes only a few months after another Los Angeles County 7-Eleven, this time in Montebello, played host to a gunfight between two individuals. Security footage from the scene showed two men at the store shouting at each other before quickly opening fire, sending other customers and staff scattering. Police later confirmed that no one was injured.
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