Warning: Video contains graphic content and language.
An armed private security guard recently thwarted a robbery in West Compton by shooting two would-be thieves, and surveillance video of the incident is circulating on social media, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Thursday.
The security guard was sitting outside a convenience store – the Los Angeles Times identified it as a 7-Eleven – in the 15200 block of South Avalon Boulevard on the night of Dec. 30, 2017, when two teenagers entered the business, according to a sheriff’s news release.
One of the male would-be robbers jumped over the counter and began rummaging through a store employee’s pockets, according to the release.
The security guard then entered the store and saw one of the teens pointing what appeared to be a firearm at the cashier, which prompted the guard to take out his weapon and shoot both teens, authorities said. He detained them until deputies responded.
Investigators confirmed they recovered a replica semi-automatic handgun at the scene.
The teens, both about 16 years old, were treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a local hospital before being booked and charged with robbery, the release stated.
Both the Sheriff’s Department and the Times described the area as Gardena; it’s actually the unincorporated West Compton area.
Nearly two weeks after the shooting, according to the Times, dramatic surveillance video of the incident was posted on YouTube and went viral, garnering more than 1.5 million views in the span of a week.
In the footage, two males can be seen entering the convenience store, and one of them goes to the front counter with both hands in the pockets of his bright blue hooded sweatshirt. He is soon joined by a second male, who is dressed all in black and also has his hands in his sweatshirt pockets.
Seconds later, the teen in blue attempts to jump over the counter, tripping and falling in the process, before landing on the other side near the cash register, the video showed. He is holding an apparent gun and is pointing it at the employee.
The other male jumps over the counter with a backpack and begins taking money from the register.
At that point, the security guard walks into the 7-Eleven and opens fire, hitting both teens, the footage shows.
“It’s fake,” one of the suspects yells, apparently talking about the weapon.
“Oh, well. Mine’s real,” the guard replies.
Still holding his gun, the security guard instructs the pair to put their hands behind their backs and tells the employee to call 911. He proceeds to hold the suspects behind the counter until authorities arrive.
Detectives stated in the news release they are aware that surveillance video of the robbery is making the rounds on social media, but did not provide further comment or a link to the video.
The two teens are being held without bail, and an investigation into the incident is ongoing.
The caption for the YouTube video, originally posted Jan. 11, indicated the incident took place in Hamilton, New Jersey, prompting speculation and local news coverage there. Police in Hamilton investigated and spoke to 7-Eleven corporate officials, who told them the shooting occurred in “Compton, Calif., just outside Los Angeles,” the news site NJ.com reported, citing a police spokesman.
The person who posted the video wrote that it was obtained from a 7-Eleven in New Jersey. In a comment below the video, the poster apologized on Thursday for saying the incident occurred in Hamilton.