L.A. Tan, "Honeybee" Weapons Match: Reports

Would-be robber showed "no sympathy, no compassion," says hero customer

Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010  |  Updated 7:37 AM CDT
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Gary Amaya (inset) is shown next to a police sketch of the "Honeybee Killer."

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The gun used in this weekend's botched robbery attempt at a suburban tanning salon is the same one that was used in a two-state shooting spree two months ago, according to published reports.

Both the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune, citing sources, report that ballistics testing on the handgun carried into an Orland Park L.A. Tan by Gary Amaya on Saturday tie it to tests done on bullet casings recovered from the Oct. 5. shootings in Beecher, Ill., and Lowell, Ind.

Amaya, 48, was shot and killed Saturday with the weapon during a struggle with another customer, Jason McDaniel.

Authorities said surveillance video shows Amaya entering the L.A Tan, pointing a gun at a female employee and ordering her to tie her hands and feet with rope he had brought.

A few minutes later, another man -- McDaniel -- entered the salon.  

Amaya pointed the gun at McDaniel and ordered him to tie his hands together as well, according to police.

"When I first got there, I just started explaining to him, 'Listen, I'm a new father, it's a young girl here.  If this is about money, I just got my holiday bonus.  I've got money in my pocket, a lot more than in the register probably.  Take that and let us go," McDaniel recalled.

But police say Amaya made a move, and that's when McDaniel grabbed the gun away from him and shot him twice.

"Seeing that look in his face, like there was nothing there, no sympathy, no compassion, I just knew that I had to do something to make it home," McDaniel said. 

Speculation quickly arose that Amaya may be connected to the "Honeybee" killings because his vehicle matched the description of the light blue Chevy truck used in October.
 
Amaya is from Rankin, which is a small town near rural Beecher, where the October shooting spree occurred.  Investigators on Monday executed a search warrant at Amaya's home.

Residents in the small community told the Chicago Sun-Times that Amaya stood out as a loner.

Rolando Alonso, 45, of Hammond, Ind., was killed after being shot by a man asking about building materials at a home in Beecher.   Joshua Garza, a 19-year-old from Dyer, Ind.  was shot and wounded.

Farmer Keith Dahl, 64, was shot and  wounded hours later near Lowell, Ind.

Sheriff's police first charged Lynwood police officer Brian Dorian with the October shootings after Garza identified him on a line up. But prosecutors later dropped the charges after Dorian's attorney's showed computer evidence proving their client could not have committed the crimes.

Amaya has no prior criminal record.

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