A Santa Monica man was shot to death by one of the victims who he attempted to rob at gunpoint at the drive-through area of Jack in the Box, 2025 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica, early Thursday, July 21st, Santa Monica police said.
Santa Monica police responded to the fast-food restaurant at Lincoln Boulevard and Grant Street at 4:43 a.m. after receiving a call regarding shots fired at the scene, police said.
Officers spoke to two male victims who said that they were inside their commercial van at the restaurant drive-through when a man wearing a hooded shirt and a ski mask allegedly approached the passenger side of the vehicle and displayed a handgun and a knife, Santa Monica Lt. Frank Fabrega said.
The alleged robber — who has been identified by the county coroner’s office as Steven Alexander Katz, 27, of Santa Monica — allegedly held the handgun up to the passenger’s head and demanded money, Fabrega said. The passenger then grabbed the suspect’s hand and a struggle ensued.
“At that time, the suspect stabbed the victim (passenger) in the hand with the knife,” Fabrega said.
During the struggle between the passenger and the suspect, the driver of the vehicle retrieved his own gun that he had inside the vehicle and shot the suspect in the upper body, police said.
The suspect then fled from the vehicle and collapsed a few feet away near the alley, police said.
The two victims, one from Inglewood and the other from Venice, waited at the scene until police arrived.
Santa Monica Fire Department paramedics also responded and pronounced the suspect dead at the scene, police said.
Katz died of a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the coroner’s office.
The suspect’s death marks the third homicide in the City of Santa Monica this year, Fabrega said.
Two men were shot to death earlier in the year in a parking lot adjacent to the Moose Lodge on Ocean Park Boulevard.
The passenger of the vehicle in the incident at Jack in the Box was transported to a local hospital, where he was treated for his injury and released.
Police detectives have interviewed several people who called police regarding hearing shots and noise in the area of the attempted robbery at the Jack in the Box, Fabrega said.
Detectives cleared the scene at about noon.
The two victims were not arrested, but when Santa Monica police complete their investigation, the case will be forwarded to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, Fabrega said.
“The package will be forwarded to the district attorney, who will make the determination of whether the homicide was justifiable or not,” Fabrega said.
District attorney personnel will also determine if misdemeanor charges will be filed against the driver of the vehicle for having a firearm inside the vehicle, Fabrega said. The police investigation of the case is continuing.
Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact the Santa Monica Police Department Robbery/Homicide Unit at (310) 458-8451.