Authorities announce $20,000 award for information about suspect
On Friday, June 2, a 45-year-old motel clerk was fatally shot during an attempted robbery in Monterey Park, according to local authorities.
Xiuxia “Michelle” Chen was working the front desk of Ambassador Inn on 2720 Valley Blvd. when a masked man entered at 11 p.m. on June 2. He entered the motel pointing a handgun at her and demanding cash.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said that the man reached over the counter and shot the wife and mother of two once in the chest before running away from the scene.
At a press conference held at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau office in Monterey Park on Tuesday, July 10, the sheriff’s department released new surveillance video and audio of the incident, where the suspect can be heard yelling at Chen, “Money. Money now.”
Chen is heard to respond to the man, “Excuse me, I do not have any money for you,” opening the desk drawer to prove there was no cash.
He kept demanding money, thinking Chen was lying. He then threatened her, repeatedly asking her, “Do you want to die?”
The video released by the detectives doesn’t show the shooting, but the motel owner found Chen wounded and called the police. She died at the scene.
“This was, in our belief, a random act,” LA County Sheriff Department Det. Gary Sloan said on Tuesday, addressing reporters.
Detectives described the suspect as a man with a medium build with a stature between 5 feet 6 inches and 6 feet. He was seen wearing dark clothing, a dark hooded sweatshirt and one dark-colored glove.
Chen’s husband of 23 years, Armando Escandor, delivered an emotional testimony, speaking about her as a wife and mother and pleading the public to assist in the case.
“The way she loved us, the way she treated us. We really miss her,” Escandor remarked. “All I want is justice for my loving wife.”
“Twenty-five years, taken just like that,” Escandor said, his voice cracking and tears welling up in eyes. Escandor and Chen married in 1994.
Their son, Armando Escandor, Jr., was serving in the Navy overseas when his mother was shot and killed. Escandor, Jr. said the authorities are offering a $20,000 reward to anyone who has information that would lead to the arrest and prosecution of the suspect.
“My mother did not deserve this, not one bit,” Escandor Jr. told reporters, in an emotional plea to bring justice for his late mother. “So being able to know that this man, or the person responsible for this heinous crime was brought to justice, it would definitely take a weight off my heart.”
Authorities are also requesting the public’s help in identifying a woman who they say spoke with Chen just before the incident. That same woman, believed to be a hotel guest, was also seen in another video leaving the hotel lobby seconds before the gunman entered.
She is seen stopping and turning to look at the hotel lobby, as if she heard something, authorities said.
Sloan said that the woman is not believed to be connected to the crime, but suggests that anyone who might recognize her to contact the police.
The sheriff’s department is asking anyone with information about the shooting and the gunman to call the homicide detectives at (323) 890-5500. (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)