At least two eyewitnesses identified Albert Lee Blake in court as the man who pulled out a gun and opened fire inside a Church’s Chicken in November 2019.
Blake is charged with murder and attempted murder in the shooting that left a young newlywed, Mirabel Ybanez, dead, and seriously wounded two other employees. Prosecutors say Blake shot the employees after he was turned away for trying to use a counterfeit $100 bill.
On Tuesday, during the second week of Blake’s trial, a fourth employee inside the restaurant testified she recognized Blake as the shooter. She was the only employee that was not hit by gunfire.
At the request of the prosecution, the judge in the case ordered Blake to stand up in court and remove his face mask. That’s when the employee positively identified Blake as the shooter.
“I’ll never forget his look because every time I close my eyes I see that look. It’s just something about his look, the way he doesn’t show any fear and the way he just looks that way,” said the worker through an interpreter.
The judge also ordered the news media not to identify any of the witnesses.
Earlier in the day, the mother of a then 12-year-old girl also identified Blake in court. She told the jury she was parked in front of the restaurant at the time Blake opened fire. The mother said she could see her daughter inside the restaurant waiting for a food order and when she looked down at her phone she heard gunfire.
“I started hearing gunshots, because I looked up and I didn’t see my daughter. I didn’t see her, I didn’t know what happened to her,” said the mother, fighting back tears.
The mother testified she saw Blake walk in and out of the restaurant and was within about 20 feet of her parked car. After calling 911, she walked inside to help the wounded workers.
“I saw blood everywhere. I could just hear people moaning. I asked if everybody was OK, and somebody said no. I asked them how do I lock the door, what if he comes back, and I just kept hearing them moan,” said the mother.
Throughout the trial, Blake’s defense attorney has said none of the witnesses have been able to identify any facial features, other than calling the shooter a “tall black man.”
Witnesses have consistently said the shooter was wearing a hoodie, with a Chargers beanie, and sunglasses. However, the employee who was not hit by gunfire testified she remembered seeing Blake with sunglasses being worn on his forehead, which helped her identify him.