The suspect killed in a shootout with police in a Glendora Ralphs store Saturday evening is also believed to have robbed a Temecula bank with a fake bomb.
The at 655 S. Grand Ave. in Glendora, according to a local police press release and L.A. County Sheriff’s detectives.
Glendora officers confronted the man, Luis Alonzo Varela, 29, of Lake Elsinore, in the store’s parking lot. He then ran inside and fired at the officers, using a checkout stand for cover. Officers returned fire, critically wounding him, police officials said.
Varela of gunshot wounds at 11 a.m. Monday, according to Assistant Chief Ed Winter of the coroner’s office. Nobody else was hurt in the shootout.
The gun battle was the climax of a month-long investigation by Temecula and Glendora investigators, said sheriff’s Sgt. Will Edwards in an announcement.
The man robbed the at 33145 Temecula Pkwy on April 15. He walked in, put an object in a paper bag on the counter, told the teller it was a bomb and ordered her to give him money or he would detonate it, witnesses said.
He ran away with an undisclosed amount of money, and nobody was hurt. Investigators evacuated the area and used a bomb-detecting robot to investigate the object in the bag. It turned out to be harmless, sheriff’s officials said.
Temecula detectives uncovered several leads and tracked the man to his home in Lake Elsinore on Thursday. The suspect was gone and seemingly moved out, Edwards said.
The detectives then discovered he was staying in Glendora, so they called the police there and learned they were searching for him on suspicion of committing in their city, one at a and one at a , according to the sergeant.
The Glendora Police then searched for him and found him at the grocery store, police officials said.
Glendora Police Lt. Tim Staab said investigators are certain Varela is the same suspect involved in the string of robberies, as Varela was captured on video surveillance on all three robberies with a distinct colored tattoo of a pair of lips on his neck.
Hazel Lodevico-To'o contributed to this report.