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Mob of 100 Chases Down Gunman

October 19, 1987

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ An angry crowd of about 100 chased a gunman who had fired a shot inside a church, caught up with him a few blocks away and threw rocks and bricks at him until police arrived, authorities said.

Police rescued the suspect as the mob was ″maintaining a little street justice on the man’s head and shoulders,″ said Officer Jerry Wyatt.

The suspect sustained slight head injuries, said police officer Sue Leskera.

The trouble began Sunday when a 15-year-old girl sitting with her family in Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church recognized a bracelet the man was wearing, said Wyatt, who would not identify the family. She told police the bracelet, which her father made for her, was stolen from the family’s home three years ago.

The girl’s father confronted the man, who pulled out a pistol, fired a shot and ran from the church, Wyatt said. A crowd pursued.

The gunman spotted a taxi and tried to pull driver Mario Bellido from it. When Bellido refused, the man aimed his gun and pulled the trigger but the weapon misfired, Wyatt said.

He pistol-whipped the driver, pulled him out of the cab and tried to drive away, shooting out of the window, police said. ″But he put it in reverse and stripped the gears,″ said police Officer Jim Murphy. ″By that time the crowd was stoning him to death.″

Helene Glanzberg, a photographer who had been taking pictures of folk dancers nearby, said the audience around the dancers joined in the pursuit.

″I ran to the corner and I saw half a dozen cops intercepting the fellow, who was very bloody,″ she said.

The man was booked for investigation of attempted murder, Wyatt said. Police declined to identify him to avoid possible retaliation.

Bellido was treated at French Hospital and released, officials said.

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