AP

7-Eleven shooter ended a life that had just turned around

Jul 11, 2022, 9:20 AM | Updated: Jul 12, 2022, 6:35 pm

In this image from video released by the Brea Police Department is a person that police are attempting to identify in connection with two people who were killed and three who were wounded in shootings at four 7-Eleven locations in Southern California ,Monday, July 11, 2022. At least three of the four shootings are believed to be linked to the same lone gunman. (Brea Police Department via AP)

(Brea Police Department via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — After years of addiction, Matthew Hirsch was sober. He landed a stable job working overnight shifts at a 7-Eleven in Southern California, lived with his girlfriend in a nearby apartment and spoke to his father every day.

Around 4:15 a.m. Monday, a masked shooter gunned down the 40-year-old clerk inside the convenience store. Authorities say it was one of six robberies by the same man at 7-Eleven stores across the region, senseless attacks that left two dead and three wounded.

The tragedy left Hirsch’s father reeling on Tuesday. Jim Hirsch had long feared his son’s death would come from another heroin overdose.

“I’d walk into his room at night and see needles,” Hirsch told The Associated Press. “Do I throw him out to die under a bridge? Or let him overdose in the house?”

Still, he always had an open-door policy for “Matt” at the home where his son grew up. Matt eventually sobered up as “he slowly straightened himself out” more than a year ago, his father said. He began working at the 7-Eleven in Brea about six months ago, juggling his job and his recovery.

Jim Hirsch was glad his son was employed but worried about him working alone late at night.

“He hadn’t had time to enjoy a normal life,” his father said. “He goes through a struggle for goodness and it ends in a shooting.”

The robberies occurred in a five-hour span early on Monday. Following the deadly robberies, 7-Eleven Inc. urged Los Angeles-area stores to close Monday and Tuesday nights for safety.

Investigators aren’t sure what what led to Hirsch’s death in Brea, or what sparked the robberies in Ontario, Upland, Riverside, Santa Ana and La Habra. Riverside Police Officer Ryan Railsback said it doesn’t seem coincidental that 7-Eleven was targeted on July 11 — or 7/11, the day when the company celebrates its anniversary.

Hirsch was shot to death after authorities believe the gunman earlier gravely wounded a customer in Riverside and then fatally shot Matthew Rule, 24, outside a Santa Ana store. After those three shootings, the suspect then shot two people at a store in La Habra before disappearing

Rule’s aunt said his mother was too distraught Tuesday to speak to a reporter.

Armed robberies also occurred at stores in Ontario and Upland shortly before the shootings. Authorities in those cities on Tuesday confirmed that the crimes they were investigating are linked to the crimes at the other locations.

Authorities in Ontario, Brea and Upland shared images of a masked man wearing what appeared to be the same black sweatshirt with a hood over his head. The sweatshirt had white lettering with green leaves on the front.

The first robbery happened around midnight in Ontario, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) east of Los Angeles. Then, about 45 minutes later, a gunman stole a few items and $400 to $500 in cash from a store in the neighboring city of Upland. About an hour later, the Riverside store was robbed and a customer shot and gravely wounded.

Another shooting occurred around 3:20 a.m. in Santa Ana. There, officers found Rule dead in the 7-Eleven parking lot. The victim did not work at the store, and surveillance video shows the suspect dropping items — believed to be the victim’s belongings while fleeing, police said.

About 40 minutes later, Hirsch was fatally shot and less than an hour later officers discovered two gunshot victims at a store in nearby La Habra. Those two victims are expected to survive.

___

News Researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

9 hours ago

Image: Members of the Makah Indian tribe paddle away from the rising sun as they head from Neah Bay...

Associated Press

Washington’s Makah Tribe clears major hurdle toward resuming traditional whale hunts

The U.S. granted the Makah Indian Tribe a long-sought waiver that helps clear the way for its first sanctioned whale hunts since 1999.

2 days ago

jerry west...

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Jerry West, a 3-time Hall of Fame selection and the NBA logo, dies at 86

Jerry West, a three-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning.

3 days ago

Photo: Construction vehicles are parked outside of the Station U & O building on Tuesday, June 11, ...

Haleluya Hadero, The Associated Press

Amazon adds $1.4B to affordable housing fund for regions where it has corporate offices

Amazon is adding $1.4B to a fund for building more affordable housing in regions where the company has major corporate offices.

3 days ago

hunter biden...

Randall Chase and the Associated Press

Hunter Biden convicted of all 3 felony charges in federal gun trial

Hunter Biden has been convicted of all three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver in 2018, but no sentencing date was set.

4 days ago

Photo: A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real e...

Associated Press

Bremerton man sentenced for 20 ‘swatting’ calls of false threats in US, Canada

A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real emergency responses, has been sentenced.

4 days ago

7-Eleven shooter ended a life that had just turned around