By Kent Larsen
LDS Grandmother Slain in Kidnapping Attempt
REDONDO BEACH, CALIFORNIA -- Diane Bragg, an LDS grandmother was murdered
Monday morning when she fought to escape a kidnapping attempt by a man
looking for "an easy target." Bragg drove to the South Bay Galleria Mall
about 11:30 am to meet a friend for lunch, but Joshua Daniel Lee thought she
was an easy target and tried to kidnap and rob her. When she resisted, he
murdered her. Lee was apprehended at the scene by two repairmen working nearby.
Police and mall shoppers said that Bragg was targeted simply for where she
was and how she looked. "That poor woman was just in the wrong place at the
wrong time," said shopper Sonny Stevens. "It could happen to any of us."
Police Captain Jeff Cameron said Tuesday that Lee was simply looking for an
easy target. Cameron said that during a confession Monday evening, Lee told
police he "looked for a victim and executed his plan. His plan was to kill
her if she did not cooperate."
Bragg's longtime friend, Lorna Reed, said that Bragg was nearly fearless.
That fearlessness may have led her to fight unsuccessfully as Lee tried to
force his way into the back door on the driver's side of her car. The
vehicle rolled forward, and Bragg tried to flee, falling out of the car,
where Lee attacked her, stabbing her multiple times. The commotion alerted
two repairmen working at a nearby restaurant, Jason Campbell and Greg
McCorkell, who tackled Lee as he fled the scene and held him until police
Bragg was the widow of former All-America UCLA basketball star Don Bragg,
who died in 1985. Her son, Mark remembered her as a "loving mother and
grandmother," who took each of her grandchildren out for their birthdays.
"It was their time alone with grandma, and that will be sorely missed," he
Bragg was also active as a volunteer, working at and raising funds for the
USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. Reed, who serves on the board of the
center, said Bragg, although devoted to the LDS Church, was open to others,
"Entering into a room, she was immediately comfortable talking with
patients. She was never judgmental. She could be equally energetic putting
up the Hanukkah decorations as the Christmas decorations at the hospital,"
Her son, Mark, said he would focus on the positive side of human nature when
remembering how his mother died. "I'd rather not focus on who didn't help,
but on the two young men who did," he said. "I know my mother would have
liked us to celebrate her life, and for the next few days that is what we
are going to do."
Kidnapping Attempt Led to Mall Slaying, Police Say
Los Angeles Times 31Jan01 D2
By Laura Wides, Kurt Streeter: Special to the Times