Father Shot, Killed in Failed Robbery Attempt in Front of Horrified Son

(Photo: Screen Grab via NBC 4)Rene Balbuena, 41.

The family of a 41-year-old father of two was gutted with grief last Saturday night after he was shot dead in a horrific robbery attempt in front of his 15-year-old son who was also injured in the attack.

Police identified the father as Rene Balbuena who was answering a Craigslist ad in a south Los Angeles neighborhood with his son at about 7 p.m. Saturday when what they believed was a failed robbery attempt took place, according to an NBC 4 report.

Investigators say Balbuena and his son knocked on a door in the neighborhood listed as the address for the sale of a phone, but were told to go away.

Shortly after that, according to police, as the father and son sat in a car at 92nd Street and Gramercy Place in the neighborhood, they were approached by two men suspected of creating the online advertisement who shot them in the street.

Balbuena's sister told NBC 4 that the entire family was completely devastated.

A south Los Angeles woman too scared to go on camera said she ran outside her home to help after she heard the shots go off in the neighborhood.

"The gunshot was so strong, powerful and I heard a voice like my son's age yelling 'please somebody help me we've been robbed. My daddy got shot,'" she told NBC 4.

"He wanted me to tell him that his daddy is going to be alright. And I saw the daddy on the ground. So I was trying to get him from there because I don't want him to remember his daddy the way he was in the street, facing on the floor," said the neighbor as her voice broke with emotion for the strangers she tried to help.
The boy, who was also grazed by a bullet, desperately wanted the shaken neighbor to tell him his father was going to be OK after the attack, but she couldn't.

"I said 911 was coming, they're on the way. He said, 'Please lady, tell me my daddy is going to be alright,'" the woman recalled.

The shooters are currently still at large and the LAPD is asking anyone with information on the shooting to come forward.

"We're still talking to witnesses -- we just have a general description, right now," said LAPD detective Chris Barling.

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