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Police Officer Gunned Down By Motorist as Diners Watch

July 16, 1996

FULLERTON, Calif. (AP) _ Police Officer Larry Worden dropped to one knee and stared into a blur of bouquets marking the spot where a fellow officer was shot to death while diners in a nearby restaurant watched in horror.

The shrine grew all day Monday in the parking lot where California Highway Patrol Officer Don Burt, 25, was killed. He died Saturday when a motorist he pulled over shot him six times, then stood over him and fired a fatal seventh bullet into his eye.

Worden, who had responded to the shooting that night from neighboring Placentia, said he returned to the site with his two young sons to pay his respects.

``You hate to see this happen to anyone, but when it’s a police officer, it’s even harder,″ he said.

The gunman fled in Burt’s patrol car and police found the abandoned vehicle seven miles away in Anaheim. Within an hour, police had arrested Young Ho Choi, 33, of Palm Springs.

Choi was booked for investigation of killing a police officer, but was released Monday night pending further investigation, said Fullerton police Sgt. Craig Brower. Choi did not have to post bail.

``We’ve got more work to do,″ he said, without elaborating.

Police have said Burt pulled over the gunman during a routine traffic stop but were not more specific.

Dozens of people dining at a Coco’s restaurant next door watched the shooting, and several identified Choi as the shooter, police said. A weapon had not been recovered.

On Monday, fellow officers and others left nearly 100 bouquets at the scene, along with balloons, American flags, cards and candles.

``To the friends and family of our law enforcement brother, our thoughts are with you,″ read a card signed by a police officer from the Glendora Police Department, 25 miles northeast.

Other items were for Burt’s unborn child _ his widow is seven months pregnant. One person left a rattle and a note that said ``God bless you.″

``The hardest thing I’m dealing with right now, besides the fact that I’ve lost my husband and my best friend, is that I never thought I would have to tell my baby about its daddy in stories,″ Kristin Burt told Los Angeles TV station KCAL.

Laura Pompei left a white teddy bear. Her ex-husband, a Glendora police officer, was killed in the line of duty in June 1995.

``This brings back a lot of sad memories,″ said Pompei, her voice shaking with emotion.

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