Police continued searching Tuesday night for two alleged robbers who escaped in getaway cars after a third would-be robber was shot by an off-duty sheriff's deputy at a downtown jewelry store.
Police said two robberies occurred around the same time in adjacent stores, but could not confirm that the group was working together.
The incidents happened about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 600 block of S. Broadway. Witnesses described the area as crowded at the time of the alleged heists.
At least two of the men entered a store, and one of them "took hold" of a security guard, reportedly holding a gun to the guard's chest, said LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon.
"The off-duty sheriff's deputy reserve saw that, pulled his gun, and shot the suspect one time," Lt. Vernon said.
The man, described as a 22-year-old ex-felon, stumbled out of the store and collapsed on the sidewalk. He was taken into custody and hospitalized in stable condition.
The two other men fled in vehicles -- believed to be what looked like a silver sedan and a black Cadlilac -- as the deputy continued to fire at them.
Police do not believe the alleged intruders fired any weapons, and think they may have located the black Cadlilac in the Rampart Area hours later.
The name of the off-duty deputy involved in the shooting has not been released. His LAPD counterparts are not second-guessing his actions.
"He's firing at a suspect, remember, who is armed," Vernon said. "He's firing at a suspect who just took somebody hostage, and they're fleeing felons. So it's a number of things there that justifies him using lethal force."