Man Arrested for Mugging, Assaulting Elderly Asian Lyft Driver at Gunpoint in LA County

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A man accused of pistol-whipping and robbing a 67-year-old Asian Lyft driver in South El Monte, Calif., is now in custody, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) announced on Wednesday.

Caught on camera: Dashcam footage shows the suspect, identified as Dandre Lorenz Powell, grabbing the victim’s phone and forcing him to hand over his wallet, which contained $1,560 in cash.

  • The incident occurred at the ARCO gas station at Rush Street and Rosemead Boulevard around 9:20 p.m. on May 10. Paul Liao, who also drives for Uber, had just finished refueling and washing his car.
  • Powell held Liao at gunpoint. During the encounter, Powell allegedly told Liao, who is Taiwanese, to “go back to China.”
  • Powell then ordered Liao to get off the car, but the latter lied and claimed that the vehicle can only be driven by its owner. This enraged Powell, hitting Liao’s face twice with the handle of his gun.
  • Detectives were able to “make a very, very good assumption” of who the suspect was just an hour after obtaining the dashcam footage, KABC reported. Tips from the public helped them make an arrest.

Arrested: Powell, who lives in Downey, was arrested at a motel in Paramount on Tuesday.

  • The 26-year-old is facing charges of first-degree robbery, victimizing someone over the age of 65 in a violent crime and being a felon possessing a gun and ammunition, according to the Associated Press.
  • Ahead of his arrest, LASD Sgt. Richard Lewis described Powell as a “very, very dangerous person” with a “long criminal history of violence,” CBS LA reported. He urged potential other victims of Powell to contact LASD as soon as possible.
  • At a news conference, Sheriff Alex Villanueva expressed his “dearest sympathy” to Liao and his family for all the trauma brought by the attack.
  • Powell remained in jail as of Thursday on a $2 million bail.

A GoFundMe page organized by Liao’s daughter-in-law, Christine Ting, raised more than $32,000 to replace his lost money, pay for a new phone and cover medical expenses.

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Featured Images via Christine Ting (left), Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (right)

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