Rite Aid worker in Los Angeles killed in shooting outside store after confronting shoplifters

National News

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — A Rite Aid employee was shot and killed when he tried to stop shoplifters at the Glassell Park store Thursday.

Around 8:50 p.m., two men attempted to leave the store, located at 4044 Eagle Rock Blvd., with unpaid merchandise, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

An employee attempted to stop the two individuals and was fatally shot by one of them, police said. The suspects remained at large Friday night.

Authorities have not yet released information about the victim, but a sign on the store’s door Friday said he was an associate there.

A makeshift memorial was set up outside the Glassell Park location Friday, with flowers, candles, and pictures of a man who loved ones identified as 36-year-old Miguel Nunez Penaloza.

A previous coworker, David Cruz, said Penaloza had just submitted his notice of resignation.

The man was also identified by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770 as a Rite Aid employee and as a member of the union.

“We mourn his passing and keep his family and loved ones in our thoughts,” the union said in a statement. “But his death should not have happened.”

UFCW 770 said that for several months, the union highlighted safety issues at that specific store, and that death threats and a police investigation took place there. And still, “the Company placed profit over safety and refused security for its employees,” the union claimed.

“No one should have to fear for their lives while they shop or work in a retail store,” the statement continued. “Rite aid has refused, in store after store, to provide adequate professional security for its employees.”

Following the worker’s death, the union demanded that retail employers everywhere provide professional security guards where workers are at risk and provide sufficient staffing within the store to reduce the opportunity for theft.

KTLA reached out to Rite Aid for comment Friday but did not immediately hear back.

The Glassell Park store was closed Friday, with a sign on the door that read, in part, “Rite Aid is shocked and saddened by the killing of a valued associate at our store … The prayers and thoughts of the entire Rite Aid team are with our associate’s family and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.”

Lesly Garcia, who used to work at Rite Aid with Penaloza, described him as an extremely caring person who went out of his way to support his coworkers.

“Miguel was very hard working, very caring, very loving. He always had a smile on his face, always asked about your day,” Garcia said.

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