By Mary O’KEEFE
The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office has released the name of the man who had robbed the Rite Aid in La Crescenta on Friday, then barricaded himself in the nearby Verizon Store.
After several hours of negotiations, the suspect, now identified as Shawn David Weissenborn, 33, of Santa Clarita, took his own life.
The cause of death was due to a gunshot wound, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner.
The wound was self-inflicted.
The incident began about 4 p.m. on Friday when Weissenborn robbed the pharmacy at Rite Aid in the 2600 block of Foothill Boulevard. Local resident Susan Eatherton was one of many people who were held in lock down in the Rite Aid.
Eatherton was shopping at the store with her mother. She was looking at items while her mother was in the back of the store. She walked toward the cashiers at the front of the store and noticed a Rite Aid employee running quickly toward the pharmacy in the rear of the facility.
Eatherton returned to the pharmacy area where she saw the clerk visibly upset.
“The girl in the pharmacy was really shaken,” Eatherton said.
She asked a person standing nearby what was happening and was told that a man had come into the pharmacy area and had apparently been hiding. He then came up to the pharmacist, showed her a gun and demanded, “pills.”
He did get the medication and then ran out of the store and into the nearby Verizon store. It is uncertain as to whether he was attempting to rob the Verizon store; however, the employees and customers were able to get out of the store as law enforcement arrived.
In the meantime customers in all the open stores throughout the Marketplace complex were told to move to the back of their buildings and to wait.
Eatherton said that the manager had been “very nice” and gave them water and kept everyone calm during the lock down.
Several people were held in Ralphs as well. The employees at the store went to the deli department and fed the customers as they waited several hours in the store.
Foothill Boulevard in front of the plaza was closed to traffic as LASD, including the Special Enforcement Bureau (the sheriff’s SWAT – Special Weapons And Tactics – equivalent) arrived.
Eventually customers were allowed to leave the stores.
“[Sheriffs] came in and told us, ‘Go. Go. Go,’” Eatherton said.
The customers ran out of their respective stores. Some went to the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station; others went to the Fire House youth center to wait out the standoff. Sheriffs had closed the parking lot of the complex as well, so customers could not get to their vehicles.
Crisis negotiators spoke to Weissenborn, as did members of his family; however, in the end he broke off communications.
Law enforcement used a camera to monitor the location and found the suspect was not moving. They entered the store and discovered he had ended his life by his own hand, according to Sgt. Burton Brink of the CV Sheriff’s Station.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.