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Security guard charged with murder in Hollywood Walgreens shooting

A security guard who police say shot and killed a 21-year-old man last month in Hollywood was charged with murder by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office Monday.

Donald Vincent Ciota, 28, of Covina faces one count of murder with an allegation that he used a firearm as a deadly weapon. Ciota shot and killed Jonathan Hart inside a Walgreens at Vine Street and Sunset Boulevard on Dec. 2, authorities said.

Ciota suspected Hart of shoplifting, and the two got into a physical altercation, prosecutors said. Ciota pulled a gun and fatally shot Hart in the back as he ran away, they said.

Hart died from a gunshot wound to the neck, according to a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.

Family attorney Carl Douglas said Hart was unarmed and was not shoplifting that night. The attorney said Hart had gotten into a confrontation with the same security guard earlier that night and had spoken with the store manager before continuing to shop.

Douglas said Monday that Hart’s family was “heartened and encouraged” that Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey’s office has charged Ciota. He said Hart’s family is planning to file a $525-million wrongful-death suit against Walgreens. 

Ciota faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in prison.

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