Update on Wednesday, Jan. 12: Police have arrested a man on suspicion of fatally shooting a Taco Bell employee Saturday in South Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Police Department identified 39-year-old Jonathan Madden as the suspect late Tuesday. He was arrested Monday at his home in South L.A., officials said.
Madden has pleaded not guilty to one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder, ABC7 reports.
A Taco Bell employee was fatally shot Saturday night while working at a drive-thru window after refusing to accept a customer’s counterfeit money, police said.
The shooting happened just before 11 p.m. Saturday at the fast-food restaurant near the intersection of Century and Avalon boulevards in South Los Angeles.
The victim, who has been identified by family members as 41-year-old Alejandro Garcia, died on scene after the male suspect fired multiple shots with a semiautomatic handgun after an apparent argument before speeding away, according to investigators.
Relatives told ABC7 on Sunday that the shooting took place after an apparent dispute over what they believe was a fake $20 bill. They said Garcia was working the night shift at the fast food restaurant alongside his 19-year-old son. The argument started when the son allegedly refused to accept what appeared to be a counterfeit $20 bill from the suspected shooters.
“I guess they got upset and they just started shooting,” Garcia’s cousin, Nancy Garcia del Sol, told ABC7. “My nephew was close by so he closed the window but the shots … they went in. [Garcia] got shot in the heart, and that’s what killed him, and he died there … in front of his son’s presence.”
Garcia is survived by three children. His family members said he worked at the restaurant one night a week to earn extra money for his family.
“We are shocked and saddened to hear that this happened,” Taco Bell said in a statement. “Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of the team member in this difficult time. We understand the owner and operator of this location is working with the local authorities in their investigation and has reached out directly to the affected family to offer support.”
Police are searching for two suspects in connection with the shooting who are described only as males between 20 and 25 years old.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore is calling for people who know the suspects to “step forward.”
“We can not become desensitized to this violence,” Moore tweeted Sunday, calling the killing senseless. “There are those who know who did this. Humanity demands that you step forward.”
A GoFundMe has been created to raise funds for Garcia’s expenses and to aid his family. As of Monday afternoon, his family raised more than $33,000 in donations.
City News Service contributed to this story.
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