Roberto Herrera, 44
Died Feb. 23, 2011
Roberto Herrera, a 44-year-old Latino, was fatally shot Wednesday, Feb. 23, in the 1300 block of South Hill Street in downtown Los Angeles, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.
Herrera worked as a security guard and had been teaching a 24-week vocational class at Coast Career Institute for the last three years, detectives said.
Shortly before 4 p.m., an argument broke out between Herrera and a student, Law Thien Huynh, 22, in the 13-member class, according to sources who asked not to be identified because the criminal investigation is ongoing.
Huynh briefly left his classroom. Moments later, sources said, he kicked or pushed the door in and immediately opened fire with a pistol at the instructor, who was standing a few feet inside the doorway. Herrera suffered multiple gunshots and was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.
No other students were injured and police said they believe the instructor was the lone target of the shooting, said LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon
Immediately after the shooting, Huynh tossed the gun into the classroom and left the building, authorities said. Witnesses gave emergency dispatchers a description of the suspect, who was spotted smoking a cigarette on Hill Street near 14th Place, Vernon said. He was arrested and charged with murder two days later.
Huynh is being held in lieu of $2-million bail at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic. His next court appearance is scheduled March 9 in Los Angeles Municipal Court.
Sources said police have not established a motive for the killing but noted that Huynh had been singled out negatively in class by his instructor on previous occasions.
One man standing outside the crime scene described the slain instructor as “one of the nicest guys ever. It was just a random act.”
Anyone with additional information about the shooting is asked to contact Det. Brian Putnam at the Los Angeles Police Department's Central Division homicide unit at (213) 842-0727. Tipsters who would like to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.
— Andrew Blankstein and Sarah Ardalani
KTLA Video: Teacher shot dead, victim's girlfriend reacts
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Updated: March 30, 2011 at 5:22 p.m.