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    "I Was The Victim Of A Crime": Bixby Knolls Business Owner Tells Council: Kidnapped, Carjacked, Forced To Drive At Knifepoint To OC, Beaten, Robbed...And He Escapes

    (February 11, 2004) -- A Bixby Knolls businessman, on his way to work and filling his car with gas at Atlantic Ave. and Carson St., was kidnapped, carjacked and -- with a knife held at his throat -- forced to drive from LB to southern Orange County.

    He was robbed, beaten...and managed to escape when he ran for his life after his car ran out of gas.

    Jorge Guerrero, owner of Salon Medusa, an upscale beauty salon in the 4200 block of Atlantic Ave., described the horrifying events to members of the LB City Council during the period allowed for public comment on non-agendized items at the Council's February 10 meeting.

    We post pertinent portions of Mr. Guerrero's testimony below.

    Mr. Guerrero, Feb. 10, 2004
    Screen save courtesy LBTV 8

    Mr. Guerrero's statements drew no public response from the chairman of the Council's Public Safety Committee, 4th district Councilman Dennis Carroll.

    8th district Councilman Rob Webb, in whose district Mr. Guerrero has his business and home, invited him to speak with Webb's Council field aide and LBPD Deputy Chief Ted Hulsey who were both present in the Council chamber.

    Mr. Guerrero did so, after previously reporting the crime on February 8. He has been told the crime is being investigated.

    In his Council testimony, Mr. Guerrero stated in pertinent part:

    This weekend I was the victim of a crime.

    I was assaulted at knife point in a gas station...a block away from my business. So my reason for being here tonight is to raise concern as a business owner and as a resident on the safety issues in the city.

    I don't feel safe. I don't think there's enough patrolling, if you would, in the area...

    ...I feel that we're not safe as it is [and] if we should cut the budget down, where is our city going?...

    I am here because I don't feel that there is much being done about it. I mean, I had to drive from Long Beach to the limits of El Toro city with a knife at my throat. It's a horrible situation to be put through.

    ...I felt very safe up until this point....

    In the process of making the report and all of that, it really increased the concerns. I mean I heard it over and over in my business. There is this crime happening, you know, things happen all the time, and people [are] always complaining, not much done about it.

    Now I'm here speaking for myself. It's happened to me...

    Following his Council testimony, contacted Mr. Guerrero. He told us he was on his way to work at his business on Saturday at about 8:30 a.m., never thinking he would become a crime victim in one of LB's best neighborhoods.

    While filling his car with gas, two individuals approached him, asked for directions and asked for cigarettes. When Mr. Guerrero got in his car, one of the individuals also got in, put a knife to Mr. Guerrero's throat and said words to the effect: start the car, let's go.

    Mr. Guerrero did as instructed, drove south on the 405 freeway until his car ran out of gas in south Orange County near the El Toro area. He then made his escape, running in one direction while his assailants ran in the other (and are at large as we post).

    In the same calm, determined tone of voice he displayed at the City Council, Mr. Guerrero told

    "I consider myself a very lucky man. What I learned is our neighborhoods are not safe enough. This raises questions for me as a business owner and as a LB resident because of the increased awareness of how unsafe we really are."

    Mr. Guerrero continued:

    "My whole purpose is to ensure this doesn't go unreported. Since I was lucky and came out of this alive, I want to do whatever I can do to ensure this doesn't happen to anyone else...Should things like this continue, I would have to consider moving to a safer city. I would stop residing here as well as stop supporting the local economy. I have 25 persons employed at my business, people who live in Long Beach and have kids in Long Beach schools."

    He added, "I felt it was my responsibility to bring some attention to this, not for me, but to help others and keep it from happening to other people."

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