A few stolen cigars may have been the reason a popular security guard lost his life. Friends say he was always looking out for them.
Flowers and candles are being left in the parking lot of an East San Jose shopping plaza in memory of a man gunned down Saturday night. "We loved him, that's why the people next door, the workers there, they cried," liquor store owner Sonny Gia said.
Gia says the victim, known only as Manny, was a security guard at the Bboss nightclub next door, but always kept an eye on Gia's store.
He says two men bought liquor about 9:15 p.m., then returned minutes later and stole Swisher cigars from the counter and ran. "Because they ran out, it was slippery and they fell down, everything you know on the floor, the cigars, everything on the floor," Gia said.
Witnesses say Manny heard the scuffle and came to help, but was shot and killed. "And another guy outside in the car, they shot him," Gia said.
A bullet shattered the window of the liquor store and a large window of the nightclub.
Patrons couldn't hear the shots over the music, but knew something was wrong. "I just saw people run to the front of the door, somebody came back inside crying. I thought something happened," Borey Swing said.
A friend of the victim was overcome with emotion at the scene.
Gia took time to scatter Thin Mint candies on the ground where he died, one of Manny's favorites.
He says the thieves made off with only a few bucks.
Police took video from Gia's surveillance camera as evidence.
A description of the suspects hasn't been released.
At this time last year, six homicides had been reported in San Jose.