Jorge Alvarado, a Good Samaritan shot in the back of the head while trying to stop a robbery in Lynwood, is clinging to life, relatives said Monday.
The incident happened Sunday afternoon at Crystal Produce and Meat Market in the 11800 block of Atlantic Avenue.
"He is a strong man. He works hard for us," said the victim's daughter, 10-year-old Lizzet, adding that her father worked two jobs to support her and her three siblings, ages 10-16.
During the alleged robbery, a female cashier ran next door to a restaurant where her brother-in-law Francisco Rojas worked.
Rojas and Alvarado ran into the market to confront the alleged robber.
"He was saving the cashier because she was a girl," Lizzet said.
Rojas, 39, spoke to NBC LA in his native Spanish language. He said he took a knife he had been using to cut food and stabbed the suspect in the neck, dodging a bullet in the process.
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The alleged gunman kept firing even with the knife blade stuck in his neck, Rojas said. One of the bullets hit Alvarado in the back of the head. Rojas said his right hand was injured by glass that shattered from one of three gun shots. The suspect then fled in a white vehicle waiting for him in the alley behind the store, Rojas said.
Five years ago, both Rojas and Alvarado attempted to foil a robbery at the same store. In that case, Rojas suffered only minor injuries, he said.
Detectives from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department combed the area Monday morning, closing down parts of the Freeway 105 looking for a white Chevrolet Astro Van and three suspects.
The alleged shooter Kyle Henderson, 30, was detained at Arcadia Hospital where he had been dropped off for his injury hours after the robbery, according to investigators.
Henderson and 47-year-old Terrance Fair, both parolees, and Ischa Criner, 42, are being charged with murder and held without bail.
Fair was the alleged driver of the getaway car; Criner is believed to be an accomplice in the crime. All three suspects are Lynwood residents.
The murder charges are due to the fact the victim is not expected to survive, according to the sheriff's office.
Lizzet and her family are praying that her father can recover.
"God needs to send him an angel so he can be better because he is doing bad right now. He is not breathing well. The doctors say there is nothing they can do for him," Lizzet said.