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Marco Antonio Franco, 25

Marco Antonio Franco, a 25-year-old Latino, was shot and killed Wednesday, June 29, in the 4900 block of Mason Street in South Gate, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records. 

Franco had accompanied his friend Enrique Valverde, 22, to a body shop about 5:45 p.m. to pick up some car parts, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Eddie Hernandez. 

Valverde was unhappy because the shop had not completed some work on his car on time, and he wanted some parts he said he had paid for, Hernandez said. He and Franco met with the shop owner and got into an argument that escalated to a fight, Hernandez said. 

During the fight, Valverde and Franco pulled out knives, Hernandez said. 

The owner’s 17-year-old nephew saw the knives, Hernandez said, “so fearing for his uncle’s safety, he grabbed the gun which was inside the shop and fired one round at each individual, striking them both.”

Franco, was pronounced dead at the scene at 6 p.m. with a gunshot wound to upper torso, according to coroner’s records. Valverde was taken to a local hospital and is expected to survive his injuries, Hernandez said. 

The shop owner was treated for minor injuries, Hernandez said. He was not stabbed. Investigators found a box cutter and a locking knife with a four-inch blade at the scene. 

The handgun used in the shooting was registered to one of the shop owner’s wives, Hernandez said. The business is owned by a pair of brothers, one of whom is the father of the teenager who fired the gun. The boy has not been identified because of his age. 

None of the people involved have been arrested, Hernandez said.   

“We’re treating this almost essentially like we do an officer-involved shooting,” he said. “We’re going to get as much information as we can and then present that information to the district attorney’s office for their determination on, A, if there’s enough to charge Mr. Valverde with assault with a deadly weapon and, B, if the juvenile shot in justifiable defense of his uncle.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.  

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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