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Suspect in fatal Taco Bell shooting in LA pleads not guilty

LOS ANGELES — A Taco Bell employee was shot and killed in the drive-thru of the fast-food restaurant in South Los Angeles, after a customer tried to buy food with counterfeit cash.

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Update 11:32 p.m. EST Jan. 12: Jonathan Madden, 39, was identified as the suspect in the fatal shooting of a Taco Bell employee in South Los Angeles. Madden pleaded not guilty to one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder, KTLA-TV reported.

Update 11:20 p.m. EST Jan. 11: Los Angeles Chief of Police Michel Moore confirmed to multiple news outlets late Tuesday night that a suspect in the shooting is in custody.

The development came as a vigil was held for Alejandro Garcia, the 41-year-old employee who was fatally shot by a customer in a drive-thru at a South Los Angeles Taco Bell on Saturday night, KTTV reported.

According to Moore, the suspect, who has not yet been identified publicly, is being held on a $2 million bail.

Original report: Police say a man drove up to the Taco Bell around 11 p.m. Saturday night and tried to pay with the counterfeit money, but an argument ensued when the employee working refused to accept the fake cash, KTLA reported.

The victim, identified as Alejandro Garcia, was found unconscious and not breathing, shot with a semiautomatic weapon, KABC reported. Relatives told KABC they believed the argument started over the $20 bill. “I guess they got upset and they just started shooting. My nephew was close by so he closed the window but the shots … they went in. [Garcia] got shot in the heart, and that’s what killed him, and he died there … in front of his son’s presence,” the victim’s cousin, Nancy Garcia del Sol, told KABC.

Taco Bell released a statement saying, “We are shocked and saddened to hear that this happened. Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of the team member in this difficult time,” KNBC reported.

Police have not made any arrests, and are looking for at least one suspect, KTLA reported.

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