Immigrant-Owned Dr. Marten Store Looted and Burned Down During Protests

Actress Halle Berry tweeted out support to help the Harounian family rebuild their store.

NBC Universal, Inc.

During the rioting in Los Angeles, an Iranian-owned Dr. Martens store was looted and burned to the ground.

Looters used a crowbar to smash through the windows of the iconic store, which has been part of Melrose Avenue for 30 years. Within seconds looters piled into the iconic store, stealing merchandise. The store was eventually set on fire while Ebbi Harounian, the son of the store's owner, watched from home.

"I told my wife, 'Oh god, that's my Dad's store burning down,'", said Ebbi Harounian. "I just stood there and watched on TV, his whole life going up in smoke."

His 81-year-old father, store owner Ned Harounian, rushed to Melrose Avenue but it was too late to save the store or many of the personal family photos inside. They managed to salvage a picture of customer Shaquille O'Neal with the owner's wife, Yafa, who died of cancer three years ago.

All that's left of the store now is charred rubble.

The family said the store had struggled in recent years and they could only afford minimal insurance to protect them if someone was injured. But a GoFundMe account, promoted on Twitter by Halle Berry, has raised more than 70 thousand dollars to help the Harounian family rebuild their store.

Ebbi Harounian said his father is so grateful.

"He was surprised but it put a big smile on his face when he found out somebody of that caliber cared and wants to help," he said.

Ebbi Harounian said the Dr. Marten store was his father's only social interaction after his wife died. This week his father has been wandering the torn up Fairfax District, hoping to find some old friends to talk to.

"I said, 'What are you doing on Melrose?' Ebbi Harounian said. "He said, 'I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I wake up, shower, shave and go to Melrose. I have nowhere else to go. I have nothing else.'"

The Harounian family said people of all ethnicities lost businesses on Melrose Ave. last weekend. But together, they hope to rebuild.

“White, black, Jewish, Armenian, Muslim doesn’t matter. That’s one thing, we all need to get over. We are all the same," Harounian said. "We’re all from this planet. And we have to take care of each other.”

Contact Us