Authorities announced a reward Wednesday in their search for whoever fatally shot a 22-year-old man as he walked home from his shift at an In-N-Out burger in East Los Angeles last month.
Members of the victim’s family joined Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials in announcing the $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect responsible for the shooting death of Rene Lupian.
Detectives are also hoping to identify two persons of interest and a white vehicle that is connected to the crime, which was described as a robbery gone bad.
Lupian was walking home after work about 10:30 p.m. on Nov. 7 when he entered a liquor store and made a purchase, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Captain Christopher Bergner said at a 10 a.m. news conference to announce the reward.
Surveillance video shows one of the persons of interest, a female, inside the store a short time before Lupian entered the business. The two did not appear to know each other, Bergner said.
The person of interest left the store shortly after Lupian. She then entered the rear passenger seat of a white compact car, which would later approach Lupian a short distance away in the 900 block of Concourse Avenue.
Another passenger got out of the car, came up to Lupian and attempted to rob him, Bergner said.
Lupian gave up his backpack but stopped cooperating when the robber tried to take his chain and gold cross, the captain added.
The chain had sentimental value and was a reminder of his later grandmother, Bergner said.
“He didn’t want to give up the chain. At that point he was shot by the suspect,” the officer said.
Investigators have only a vague description of the gunman, who was wearing a royal blue sweatshirt and a dark colored bandana over his face.
Lupian was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
He had hopes of going to a trade school and becoming an architect, authorities said during the news conference. “He was just a good kid who was minding his own business,” Lt. Charles Calderaro said.
Lupian’s sister Christy pleaded for anyone with information to come forward.
“My little brother was amazing. He was my best friend,” Christy said.
Lupian’s father, Cristobal Lupian also spoke at the news conference.
“It’s hard to express the hurt that my son’s murder has caused,” Cristobal said in Spanish. “He was a good boy with a good heart, and it’s a huge loss for us.”
Officials released sketches of the woman who was in the store with Lupian and the second person of interest believed to have been driving the white car.
That person was described as a Hispanic man about 20 years old. He was wearing a white T-shirt, dark pants and was about average height, Bergner said.
The vehicle had some distinct markings such as a black scuff mark on the driver’s side bumper, a black passenger side mirror and a black right fender.
All of those items could be easily changed and may no longer be present, Bergner said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Lupian's family.
Anyone with further information was asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.