Chula Vista police aren't releasing much information about a security guard involved in Monday's Apple Store shooting, but they say it appears his actions were appropriate.
Three smash-and-grab burglars got more resistance than they expected breaking into a South County Apple store when an armed guard fatally shot one of them at around 6.40 a.m. at Otay Ranch Town Center in Chula Vista.
Police say Apple hired and posted the armed security guard inside the store because of prior burglary issues.
Capt. Gary Ficacci believes he was hired as part of a contract with an outside security company.
Police said the guard opened fire only after the suspects revealed they were carrying a gun.
"There's no reason in the world for a security officer to shoot somebody for stealing a piece of property. It's patently against California law to use deadly force to defend property, however the minute a weapon is introduced and there is a threat to a human life, now there is perhaps a justifiable reason to use some level of force, if threat is deadly force use deadly option" said Joel Persinger, a partner and instructor with Practical Defense Systems trains armed security guards.
Persinger says armed guards are part of growing trend.
"We're seeing a lot more people come through the academy than we did before, I see it as a growth industry, "he said.
Armed Security guards must complete two separate training programs to be legally employed in California.
The first is an 8-hour class with 32 hours of follow-up education that earns them a license or "guard card".
The second program is an 8-hour course on firearms safety and they must also eventually qualify on the range.
The Apple store manager was working inside when just before 7 a.m. the guard confronted two men and a woman. The suspects had smashed into the store's front doors, sending shattered glass out onto the sidewalk.
The guard told police a gun battle started when one suspect produced a handgun. More than a dozen yellow evidence markers were on the ground just outside the store's front door.
Investigators said the three suspects got into a silver Acura and crashed into a light pole and a post before stopping on the curb outside Banana Republic. The passenger side door was left open with what appeared to be a body still inside.
Police confirm the unidentified man was shot and killed by the security guard. The second man and woman ran from the mall heading east, police said.
Patrol cars blocked the intersection of Eastlake Parkway and Birch Road leading into the outdoor mall. Chula Vista police officers, U.S. Border Patrol agents and San Diego County sheriff's deputies searched the neighborhood near the mall.
Around 8 a.m., law enforcement officers with guns drawn approached a section of townhomes in the Winding Walk community east of the shopping center.
Officers entered an alley between two buildings and pulled out two people. A female was cuffed and walked to a patrol car. The second, a man, was originally cuffed and patted down. Then, he was treated by medical personnel for a gunshot wound in the buttocks before being taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.
The suspects were positively identified by Apple store employees, according to Chula Vista police.
The Apple store security guard was not injured, police said.
Investigators said one of the suspects' two handguns was stolen. They're looking into whether the trio may have been involved in prior smash and grabs.
Eastlake High School, Wolf Canyon Elementary School, Veterans Elementary School and Olympian High School were placed on lockdown according to district officials. Those lockdowns were lifted by 9:30 a.m.
Mater Dei Catholic High School, first reported to be on lockdown, reported that it was back in session as well.
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