Los Angeles

Man Wanted in Murder, Robbery Shot by Police in Van Nuys

The suspect was wanted in connection with a robbery at a liquor store and the shooting death of a 52-year-old Panorama City man.

A man in his 20s who was wanted in connection with a murder and a liquor store robbery was killed Wednesday in an officer-involved shooting in Van Nuys.

No officers were injured in the shooting, which occurred about 10:25 a.m. near Kester Avenue and Burbank Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Plainclothes officers were conducting surveillance on the suspect, Lazerri Frazier, 21, of Van Nuys, in the 5400 block of Kester and were attempting to take him into custody when the shooting occurred, according to LAPD Sgt. Barry Montgomery.

"They attempted to take him into custody and it simply went really bad," Montgomery said.

The suspect died at the scene. A gun was recovered, according to the sergeant.

Frazier was wanted in connection with a robbery about 11 p.m. Tuesday at a liquor store near the intersection of Kester Avenue and Burbank Boulevard and the shooting death of a 52-year-old Panorama City man around 12:25 p.m. Monday outside an apartment complex in the 14600 block of Burbank Boulevard, near Van Nuys Boulevard.

The owner of the liquor store said he came close to a violent encounter with the suspect.

"He started to take his gun out, and said, 'I'm going to shoot you.' So I was like, 'Man, do whatever you want,'" Taranjit, the liquor store owner, said. 

The suspect made off with alcohol, but no cash.

Montgomery told reporters at the OIS scene that investigators "have been scouring the area, talking to witnesses, and looking at evidence and they believe the suspect involved in this officer-involved shooting is the suspect responsible for both of those crimes."

The homicide victim, identified by the county coroner's office as Antonio Rodriguez, died at the scene of the noon-hour shooting on Monday.

"He's not going to see me walk down the aisle in the future. He's not going to be able to meet my kids in the future. It's just so hard knowing that you're never going to see this person again," his daughter, Betzabeth Centeno, said.

When she learned that the man killed by police may be responsible for the murder of her father, she said, "We just wanted him to get arrested. Ask him why, why did he have to take him away from us? Why couldn't he just rob him and let him go?"

The Centeno family wishes the incident had gone differently, but they're thankful the man is off the streets.

"We're at peace that justice was brought to him," Betzabeth Centeno said. 

A gofundme page started by his daughter Betzabeth Centeno had raised $1,125 toward a $10,000 goal as of 10:30 p.m. If you would like to donate to the GoFundMe, you may do so here. Please note that GoFundMe takes a percentage of all funds raised in the form of platform and other fees.

Rodriguez, who is reported to have been a maintenance man, arrived in the U.S. from Mexico in 2001 and was killed while on a lunch break from his place of employment, the man's daughter wrote.

Rodriguez is also survived by his wife.

Kim Tobin contributed to this report. 

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