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Gerald Atlas, 43

Gerald Atlas, 43, a black man, was shot multiple times at 104th Street East and Avalon Boulevard in Watts and died at 12:25 a.m. Thursday, July 26.

Det. Mark Hahn of LAPD South Bureau Homicide said that investigators think Atlas died after he and a companion ambushed an armed security guard in the parking lot of a strip mall at 104th Street and Avalon Boulevard in Watts at about 11:40 p.m. Wednesday, July 25. Atlas or his companion shot and wounded the security guard, a Latino man in his 50s, who nonetheless managed to shoot back in self-defense, killing Atlas, Hahn said.

Police said the incident unfolded like this: The security guard was sitting in the front seat of his car pouring coffee from a thermos. Atlas and his accomplice, who appeared to be either Latino or black, came at him shooting, possibly in a robbery or a dispute, Hahn said. The security guard reacted quickly, pulling his gun and returning fire.

When the gunfire cleared, Atlas had suffered a mortal wound, the security guard had taken a bullet in the stomach and Atlas' accomplice had fled the scene. Both Atlas and the guard were transported to local hospitals, where Atlas died. The security guard was in stable condition, and is expected to survive.

Update: This case was ruled a justifiable homicide. No charges were filed.

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