Warning: Video contains graphic content and language.
GARDENA, Calif. – An armed private security guard recently thwarted a robbery by shooting two would-be thieves, and surveillance video of the incident quickly circulated on social media, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Thursday.
The security guard was sitting outside a convenience store in Gardena on the night of Dec. 30th when two teenagers entered the business, according to a sheriff’s news release.
One of the male suspects jumped over the counter and began rummaging through a store employee’s pockets, according to the release.
The security guard then entered the store and saw one of the teens pointing what appeared to be a firearm at the cashier, which prompted him to take out his weapon and shoot both suspects, authorities said. He detained them until deputies responded.
Investigators confirmed they recovered a replica semi-automatic handgun at the scene.
The teens, both about 16 years old, were treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a local hospital before being booked and charged with robbery, the release stated.
Nearly two weeks later, according to the L.A. Times, dramatic surveillance video of the incident was posted on YouTube and subsequently went viral, having garnered more than 1.5 million times in the span of a week.
In the footage, two males can be seen entering the convenience store. One of them goes to the front counter with both hands in the pockets of his bright blue hooded sweatshirt. He is soon joined by a second male, who is dressed all in black and also has his hands in his sweatshirt pockets.
Seconds later, the teen in blue attempts to jump over the counter, tripping and falling in the process, before landing on the other side near the cash register. He appears to be pointing a gun at the employee.
The other suspect jumps over the counter with a backpack and begins taking money from the register.
At that point, the security guard walks in and opens fire, hitting both teens.
“It’s fake,” one of the suspects yells, apparently talking about the weapon.
“Oh, well. Mine’s real,” the guard replies.
Still holding his gun, the security guard instructs the pair to put their hands behind their backs and tells the employee to call 911. He proceeds to hold the suspects behind the counter until authorities arrive.
Detectives state in the news release they are aware that surveillance video of the robbery is making the rounds on social media, but did not provide further comment.
The two teens are being held without bail, and an investigation into the incident is ongoing.