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Rash of shotgun robberies may be connected to MTV killing

By Alan Duke, CNN
MTV employee Gabe Ben-Meir was killed by a shotgun blast to his head early Sunday, police say.
MTV employee Gabe Ben-Meir was killed by a shotgun blast to his head early Sunday, police say.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police "seriously considering" connection between MTV producer's death and robberies
  • Nine shotgun robberies and 2 killings happened in same section of Los Angeles
  • Two people were arrested Wednesday afternoon
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Los Angeles (CNN) -- The shooting death of an MTV producer Sunday morning may be related to a rash of robberies that included one other killing in Los Angeles over the past two weeks, police said.

Investigators arrested two people Wednesday afternoon whom they believe are connected to at least some of the nine recent shotgun robberies, according to Los Angeles Police Capt. Matt Burke.

"Shotguns are kind of a rare weapon to use in a street crime," Blake said, which is why police are "seriously considering" that all the crimes are connected.

MTV employee Gabe Ben-Meir was killed by a shotgun blast to his head early Sunday, police said. A neighbor found his body on a sidewalk near his apartment hours later.

Ben-Meir, 30, worked as music coordinator and production coordinator on several MTV shows, including "Punk'd" and "Nitro Circus," an MTV spokesman said.

"We are shocked and saddened by the tragic death of Gabe Ben-Meir, who was a valued member of the MTV family and a beloved and dedicated colleague and friend," MTV Senior Vice President Nathaniel Brown said. "Our hearts go out to his family."

Initially, investigators did not know if robbery was involved, but a pattern of shotgun crimes in the same section of the city since April 29 now points toward a possible connection.

Another man was killed by a shotgun on April 30 after he refused to give a robber his money, Blake said.

A third person who resisted a robber barely escaped harm when a shotgun blast missed him in another early morning hold-up, he said.

All the street robberies were "in the wee hours" of the morning, Blake said.

Three hold-ups were at small businesses, including two doughnut shops and a liquor store, he said.

A security camera took a photograph of a shotgun robber, a black male, at a doughnut shop last week. The photo was handed out to reporters at a police news conference Wednesday.

Police said they may soon release a security camera video of a shotgun robbery at a liquor store Tuesday night. The robber was unsuccessful because of thick bullet-proof glass protecting the clerk.

One of the two people arrested Wednesday was caught soon after the liquor store robbery in a car fitting the description of the getaway vehicle, Blake said.

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