Security officer shot-killed patrolling shopping center www.privateofficer.com
Francisco Flores, 34, was shot several times by three or four Hispanic men at the restaurant and shopping complex on Edison Highway, according to a Sheriff’s Department news release. He was pronounced dead at 9:53 p.m. at Kern Medical Center.
Flores left the Sheriff’s Department in 2005, Sheriff’s spokesman Ray Pruitt said. He worked for more than three years as a reserve deputy, which is a volunteer position, and also spent some time as an extra help deputy, a part-time paid position.
Pruitt said there’s no indication that Flores’ former status with the Sheriff’s Department had anything to do with the killing.
The events leading up to the shooting began about 8 p.m. when several men began bothering some patrons at the market, a news release said. Security asked the men to leave, which they did.
The same group returned about 9 p.m. and security was notified, the news release said. Flores started walking out of the courtyard area to confront the men when they opened fire.
The suspects, described only as Hispanic men between 20 and 30 years old, ran eastbound through the parking lot, the news release said.
Yesenia Felix, a waitress at El Puerto Seafood and Mexican Restaurant, ducked when she heard the gunfire. She and other employees had been closing up when the shooting happened.
“It was scary,” Felix said.
Maria Reynoso, who operates Reynoso Tennis Shoes at Mercado Latino, said she’s a little nervous because this isn’t the first time someone’s been shot there. In 2007, Luis Manuel Garcia, 30, was shot and killed at a Cinco De Mayo concert held at the market.
Reynoso’s daughter, Lucy, said Flores was the only security guard who stood up to troublemakers and quelled problems.
“He seemed calm,” Lucy Reynoso said of Flores. “You never saw him joking around.”
Angel Sullivan, who works a Boost Mobile booth at the market, said Flores always put forth his best effort and was a “really nice guy.” The market needs more security, and he and other vendors are going to push management to make a change, Sullivan said.
Mercado Latino management did not respond to a request for comment.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 861-3110 or Secret Witness at 322-4040