Deputies sought the public's help Tuesday in identifying two men connected to the fatal shooting of a veteran during an attempted robbery in Lancaster, offering a $30,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
In a news conference, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department released images from surveillance video showing two suspects authorities described as black male adults. They're seen wearing sweatshirts with cinched hoods that concealed their faces.
The men intended to rob the gas station convenience store on the 44400 block of Division Street at around 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 19, Lt. Joe Mendoza said. After entering the store, one of them allegedly used a handgun and fatally shot the upper torso of John Ruh, a 61-year-old U.S. Marine veteran working as a cashier at the store.
"We believe this may have been a target of opportunity," Detective Steven Blagg said.
The two men took off without taking anything from the store, according to LASD, and it's unclear whether they fled on foot or in a vehicle.
The L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved a $20,000 reward for information leading to the suspects' arrest, and the Lancaster City Council sponsored an additional $10,000.
Ruh was a beloved fixture in the neighborhood where he worked, according to deputies and his family.
Lt. Mendoza said he often helped out customers who couldn't afford merchandise.
Michelle Brace, the victim's partner of 22 years, also spoke of Ruh during Tuesday's news conference.
"He was just loving...Everybody that he met liked him," Brace said.
She added that Ruh did not have to work, and she had asked him to quit after previous incidents of robbery in the past — but it was important for him to provide for his family.
Brace said he helped raise her five children as his own.
Ruh is also survived by six grandchildren and his son, who followed in his father's footsteps and was serving in the U.S. Army.
Brace asked anyone with information to come forward, saying that despite her anger, she prayed for the individuals responsible and wanted them to be apprehended properly.
"I don’t want to see their parents go through something like this," Brace said.
Anyone with information could call Detective Blagg or Detective Scott Lawler at 323-890-5500. Those who wished to remain anonymous could contact Crime Stoppers by calling 800-222-8477, using the P3 Tips mobile app or visiting lacrimestoppers.org.