A Jack in the Box restaurant. Courtesy of the company
A Jack in the Box restaurant, not the one in El Monte. Courtesy of the company

Sheriff’s investigators and the mother of a 25-year-old Jack in the Box employee gunned down during an attempted robbery in El Monte appealed to the public Thursday for help bringing the killer to justice.

Juan Manual Vidal of El Monte, who recently completed pharmacy technician training and was engaged to be married, was shot about 7:30 p.m. Friday in the restaurant in the 9200 block of Flair Drive, adjacent to the San Bernardino (10) Freeway, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

At a news conference at the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau in Monterey Park, detectives showed surveillance images of the masked shooter in the hope that someone can help identify him.

“I miss my son. I miss him deeply,” the young man’s heartbroken mother Mary Vidal said. “He was a kind, loving man, but to me, he’s always going to be my boy.”

According to investigators, the gunman entered the business and jumped over the counter where Vidal was standing.

It’s unclear why, but after demanding money, the suspect turned toward Vidal and shot him in the chest, then jumped back over the counter and fled the scene without taking any money or property, according to the sheriff’s department.

The gunman was last seen running north onto Flair Drive and then getting into a vehicle investigators believe was driven by a second suspect. The vehicle sped east on Flair Drive, away from the crime scene.

Vidal was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“If anybody knows who did this, who took my son away, you need to turn him in,” Mary Vidal said.

Anyone with information about the shooting, the escape vehicle or the gunman — who appeared to be white or light-skinned and wore what was described as a Halloween mask and dark-colored baseball cap — was urged to call Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau detectives Adan Torres or Gustavo Carrillo at (323) 890-5500. Anonymous tips can be submitted through Crime Stoppers by calling (800) 222-TIPS.

—City News Service

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