Fullerton man stands up to thug, gets shot at 3 times
Leg wound makes Narasimha Murthy think twice about self-defense in wake of afternoon shooting.
By BARBARA GIASONE
The Orange County Register
FULLERTON – Traffic engineer Narasimha Murthy couldn't shake the morning newspaper story from his mind.
A social worker in Santa Ana told an Orange County Register reporter he was tired of neighborhood violence. When the employee told a tough-looking teen to leave the area, the boy responded, "You'll be dead tomorrow." The adult didn't back off; he stood up to the threat and called police.
Seven hours later, Murthy stood in a similar situation with one difference: He was shot at three times.
"I'm lucky to be alive," said the Fullerton resident, nursing wounds from one bullet that pierced his calf muscle and exited through the back of the leg. The other two bullets missed, and hit the sidewalk.
He sat in his kitchen Thursday going over his videotape of the Jan. 29 incident frame-by-frame. A copy was given to the police and FBI, he said.
Murthy's confrontation began at 3 in the afternoon at the corner of Arlington Avenue and 27th Street in southwest Los Angeles. The engineer was videoing traffic signals in a bid for a school traffic study. His camera was focused on cars whizzing through the intersection, but also captured a softer image of a man leaning against a lamppost.
Once the man spotted Murthy, he walked toward him.
The camera kept rolling as the man tried to snatch it.
The two struggled.
"I hung on best I could, and then I remembered the news article," Murthy said. The Santa Ana victim said if people are going to create change, they have to confront violence and street terrorism.
"I kicked the guy in the groin," said Murthy, 50. "It must have got him mad, because he pulled a 9 mm gun from his pocket and shot me.
"I didn't give up just like the man in the newspaper story," Murthy said. "My family said it was foolish of me, but I kept fighting back. The guy took off with my BlackBerry."
Murthy walked about 100 yards before he saw blood oozing onto his slacks. Passersby called 911, and he was taken to the Olympia Medical Center, where he was hospitalized for six hours.
He gave police a full report – and the videotape that showed his assailant.
Los Angeles Police Department officer Julie Sohn said an assault with a deadly weapon report had been filed with the city's southwest division. No suspect has been arrested, police said.
While recounting the incident in his east Fullerton home, Murthy said he was so sure he could stand up to one thug.
"Like the guy in the article said, we the people have to make the sacrifice to save our community and be brave," Murthy said. "But I never expected to face anything like this at 3 in the afternoon in broad daylight."