A 27-year-old man pleaded not guilty Thursday to a capital murder charge stemming from the killing of a San Dimas sandwich shop owner during a robbery about four years ago.

Sergey S. Gutsu is charged in the June 2, 2015, killing of Pravin Patel, 62, killed outside his Quiznos sandwich shop at 1034 W. Arrow Highway.

The charge includes the special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a robbery, along with allegations that he personally and intentionally discharged a handgun.

Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Gutsu, being held without bail.

Gutsu allegedly “admitted to being involved” in Patel’s slaying when he was interviewed in 2016 by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in Santa Rosa, where he was arrested in connection with the armed robbery of an armored car, authorities said then.

Along with the murder charge, he is facing one count of second-degree robbery involving Patel and two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm involving two customers at the sandwich shop that day.

Detectives said a suspect approached the cashier’s counter at Quiznos while brandishing a semi-automatic handgun and demanding money, and Patel gave him a bag containing an undisclosed amount of cash.

Patel then followed the robber outside, where he was shot during a brief struggle in the parking lot, according to the sheriff’s department.

Patel — who was taken to a hospital — died that night from a gunshot wound to his abdomen, the coroner’s office said.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.