Rafu Wire and Staff Reports
TORRANCE — The owner of a Torrance jewelry store fatally shot a would-be robber on Tuesday.
“At 12:01 hours on today’s date, the Torrance PD received a call of shots fired at Leilani’s Jewelers at 18099 Prairie Ave.,” said Sgt. Paul Kranke of the Torrance Police Department. “We received a call from the store owner stating that the subject was down as a result of being shot during an attempted robbery. As of right now we have one male subject who is deceased and the investigation is ongoing.
“We are asking anybody with any information to please call the Torrance Police Department at (310) 618-5570.”
Kranke also said that the suspect was armed but apparently did not fire any shots.
No other workers were at the store at the time of the shooting.
Police were checking for video surveillance footage and were examining a black car parked near the store that may have been used by the would-be robber. The car had Oregon license plates. Police were unsure if there were any accomplices.
The store’s owner, Tad Tanino, 59, was interviewed by detectives Tuesday afternoon. He has run the business for more than 30 years.
Customer Irene Patino, who said she bought her Hawaiian jewelry at Leilani’s, called it “a fabulous jewelry store” and expressed relief that Tanino was unhurt.
Patino also said that the store has a security door and customers have to be buzzed in.
One of Tanino’s friends, Garfield Estes, told ABC7, “Tad is a real nice guy, low-key guy, (but) push comes to shove, he’ll push back. For someone to take advantage of that, I guess they didn’t know him.”
Tanino has declined to talk to the media. His daughter Leilani, the store’s namesake, said Tuesday that he was shaken up by the incident.
On Wednesday, Assistant Chief Ed Winter of the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office identified the suspect as Keon Bailey, 20.
Online comments have been mostly supportive of the store owner. One person posted on the Daily Breeze website, “This is why law-abiding citizens own guns — to protect themselves from the bad guys.” Another posted on the Torrance Police Department’s Facebook page, “Wish this (would) happen more to these thugs going around stealing things from people … Great example of a hero!”
The store remained closed on Wednesday but reopened on Thursday.
Person of Interest
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday named Bailey, a Lancaster resident, as a person of interest in the murder of Louis Giuntini, 95, and Rose Giuntini, 92, of Apple Valley as well as other crimes in the area.
“The extensive investigation has been continuing since Feb. 29 into the murders of Mr. and Mrs. Giuntini,” the department said in a statement. “Investigators have collected evidence that leads them to believe they have identified a person of interest in this investigation. However, confirmation of that evidence has not yet been scientifically determined.
“In addition to the homicide, three recent crimes have been committed and certain evidence recovered from each scene is consistent in all locations. On Feb. 28, at approximately 10:55 a.m., an armed robbery occurred at Neil’s Donuts in the 18100 block of Highway 18, Apple Valley.
“Surveillance video from the donut shop was recovered and positive identification of the suspect, Keon Bailey, was confirmed on March 9.
“On March 6, a home invasion robbery occurred in the 15600 block of Myalon Road in Apple Valley. Evidence was recovered at the home invasion robbery by investigators and is consistent with the donut shop robbery and the homicide.
“On Tuesday, March 8, a Torrance jewelry store owner shot and killed a man during an attempted robbery. The suspect has been positively identified as Keon Bailey. Bailey was found to be in possession of property that was reported stolen from victims in Apple Valley.
“Keon Bailey was released on parole from state prison on Feb. 18, 2016, his previous crimes were for burglary, possession of stolen property, rape, grand theft, trespassing and sexual battery.
“The investigations are continuing and updated information will be released as soon as it becomes available.”