CHULA VISTA, Calif. - One suspect was shot to death and two were in custody Monday after a botched smash-and-grab robbery at the Otay Ranch Town Center shopping mall.
The pair in custody have been identified as 21-year-old Melissa Ortiz and 25-year-old Johnny Chenda.
The shooting, which prompted lockdowns at three area schools, took place at about 6:43 a.m. after the trio smashed in the glass door at the Apple Store in the mall, Chula Vista police said.
"It appears as though two of the male suspects were armed. When confronted by the security guard, who was also armed, a bit of a gunfight ensued," Chula Vista police Capt. Gary Ficacci told Fox 5 News.
The guard was later identified as Jose Jimenez, 58, a retired police officer who works for Security Industry Specialists based in Culver City.
The suspects tried to drive off in a car, but it crashed at the mall, Ficacci said. One man died in the car, but two of the robbers fled from the crash on foot, the captain said.
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Heavily armed police flooded the mall and a nearby condominium complex. Chenda and Ortiz, were arrested in the patio area of a residence near Morning Dew Court and Sand Drive, Ficacci said.
The owner of the residence said the pair ran up to him asking for water and help.
"A young woman and a young man they came to the back of the garage and they were kind of shaken up and asked for some water," said homeowner Haji Morado. "The guy was saying, can you take me to the hospital. I said what's wrong and he said, I'm shot. And he was touching his back."
The man who died in the car was not immediately identified. An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday to determine the cause of death.
"We're confident we have everyone in custody," Ficacci said.
Officials at Mater Dei High School, Eastlake High School and Wolf Canyon Elementary School, which are near the center, confirmed that the schools were placed on lock down as a precaution. As of 8:30 a.m., all the schools had lifted the lockdowns.
The eastern section of the mall near the Apple Store was closed off for several hours during the investigation, but the rest of the mall remained open for business.