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Meet-Up to Buy a Used Car Ends In Assault and Death of a Local Father

photo: David von Diemar/Unsplash

A tragic situation in L.A.'s Westmont neighborhood  has left a local father dead, increasing an already pitched need for caution surrounding sales arranged online with strangers.

53-year-old Eugenio Paz took his family to buy a used red Nissan Altima for his son last Friday, arriving a little past noon to meet a man he'd spoken with about the sale in the vicinity of Woodcrest Elementary School.

The car turned out to be stolen and the meeting a set up for a robbery. Mercury News reports that investigators arriving at the scene were originally informed they were called for a pedestrian struck and killed by a vehicle. What really happened was considerably more nefarious.

Paz was dropped off by his family from a car including his wife, daughter, and grandchild. After circling the block, his family arrived to join up with him as he negotiated the sale. At which point, they witnessed the man posing as the car's seller attempt to jump Paz for his cash. Two more assailants joined in the assault, including one said to be armed with a knife.

In front of his family, Paz was struck in the head (initially reported as a shooting), causing him to become disoriented and in an attempt to get away from his attackers, stumble into a nearby intersection, at which point he was hit by a moving vehicle traveling south on Budlong Avenue. Paramedics arriving at the scene pronounced Paz dead.

The suspects fled west on foot and have not been found, with tips being sought by CrimeStoppers and the LASD Homicide Bureau. MSN reports that counseling will be offered to any nearby elementary school students who may have witnessed Paz's attack and resulting death.

Although no specific website was mentioned in regards to the fraudulent sale, Paz's sad end is a reminder to be extremely careful when making deals with people you have never seen or met before. Crimes orchestrated through popular online classified ad websites such as Craigslist appear frequently in the news.

Paz was sticking to many of the personal safety rules Craigslist itself suggests for potential deals, including holding his meeting in a public place, bringing other people with him, and letting loved ones know where he was.

Sadly, the 52-year-old, described as a "hard-working" family man, still fell victim to a brutal encounter with a group of criminals intent on conning an innocent member of the public. We'll update this post if we can find any fundraising efforts for Paz or the family he's left behind.

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