The owner of a popular Lynwood taco shop was shot dead Monday while trying to protect his family, according to his daughter.
The shooting occurred shortly after 12:30 a.m. in the 11020 block of South Atlantic Avenue (map), according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The 65-year-old was taken to a local hospital where he later died, a news release from the Sheriff’s Department stated.
Although authorities have not confirmed the man’s identity, his daughter identified him as Jose Padilla, and she said he started the La Playita taco shop 17 years ago.
Jose Padilla was closing the store for the night with four relatives when three men with guns entered, Miriam Padilla said.
Miriam Padilla’s husband and brother-in-law were at the restaurant and said Jose Padilla grabbed his .38-caliber pistol in an effort to protect the family.
“He was like me; we don’t go down without a fight,” Miriam Padilla said.
The father of six and grandfather of 11 was then shot around 10 times in the chest, according to Miriam Padilla.
“I would always tell him, just let them take the money,” she said. “Who cares? The money can be replaced. Your life can’t.”
Miriam Padilla described her father as hard working, responsible and a good dad.
“He was the rock of this place,” she said through tears. “It meant so much to him, it meant everything to him. Everything. He had this place and his family. It meant to the world to that man.”
There was no other man like her father, she added.
“It’s like pinch me, it’s a nightmare,” she said.
Family members believe the three men followed Padilla from his other restaurant in Compton.
Investigators were reviewing surveillance video from the restaurant for additional clues.
The Sheriff’s Department stated that the shooting took place inside a seafood restaurant.
The gunmen were described only as three black men who fled the crime scene in a vehicle, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Anyone with information about the shooting was urged to call the Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
Anonymous tips can also be left by calling Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS-8477, or texting the letters “TIPLA” plus a tip to 274637, or through the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.
KTLA’s Ashley Soley-Cerro, Christina Pascucci, Kennedy Ryan, Wendy Burch and Alberto Mendez contributed to this report.