On Friday, the Los Angeles Police Department began to detail some of the events that led up to the fatal stabbing of 56-year-old Du Young Lee, who was memorialized at a vigil that night in downtown Los Angeles.
The stabbing on Saturday afternoon occurred after two 17-year-olds went into Lee’s hair extension and wig store near the Fashion District, then ran from the store without paying, the LAPD said in a news release.
Lee chased the teenagers, a boy and a girl, and confronted them at the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Wall Street.
The LAPD claims the male teen produced a gun and that Lee and the boy fought over it prior to the stabbing, which occurred after Lee fell onto the street.
Video shared with KTLA shows Lee appearing to struggle with the girl over a purse, then the male teen approaches Lee from behind and stabs him multiple times in the stomach, side and back.
Lee then stumbles into the street, where the girl takes the purse as the male teen flees.
A second video shows Lee, who is bleeding profusely from the torso, holding a handgun in the street before he begins to weaken and examines the stab wounds.
Lee was declared dead at the scene, while the teens, who were caught by police shortly after the incident, were arrested and charged with murder.
At the Friday night vigil, friends and neighbors remembered the man known as “Tommy” to many of them.
“We are going to miss him. We’re going to miss him. He’s in our prayers,” said neighbor Monica Villalvazo.
“A wig is isn’t worth a human life. Human life has way more value than anything these kids could want to get their hands on,” added community organizer Naomi Hom.
Lee was vocal in his desire to prevent shoplifters and thieves steal from his business, according to Villalvazo.
“He would say, ‘If I let them come and steal, they’re always going to come back. So I can’t. I work too hard for this,'” she said.
But after Saturday’s killing, neighbors like Alejandra Murodiaz are left only with memories.
“I am going to miss his smile, his kind heart, his bravery,” she said.
Anyone with information can contact Detectives J. Sharman and K. Gonzales at 213-486-8700.
During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247).
Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit lacrimestoppers.org.