Marvel star Frank Grillo slammed Los Angeles’ rising crime following the killing of his personal boxing trainer last week.
Grillo — known for his portrayal of the Marvel character Crossbones in “Avengers” and “Captain America” films — mourned the loss of trainer Azuma Bennett, who was shot dead outside a legal marijuana dispensary in Windsor Hills Friday morning.
“He made everybody feel good about training,” Grillo told KNBC. “I don’t know what’s happened to Los Angeles that a beautiful guy like this gets shot and killed over nothing.”
Bennett, 30, was shot at least eight times and died while on the way to an area hospital, police said. Investigators have not released a possible motive in his shooting or identified any suspects.
The trainer’s murder comes as homicides in Los Angeles reached the highest level in 15 years, according to ABC7. In the first half of the year, the city saw 181 murders — a 34% increase from the average number of homicides during the same time period between 2015 and 2019.
Bennett, who worked out of Fortune Gym in Los Angeles, had numerous celebrity clients such as Grillo, UFC fighter Jason “Mayhem” Miller and singers Kiana Ledé and Eddie Benjamin.
“Azuma was our family. One of the best of the best. We are all so broken,” Fortune Gym said in a statement.
Bennett, from Australia, moved to the US three years ago. A GoFundMe page was created to raise money to send Bennett’s body back to his home country. It has raised more than $35,000 as of early Friday.
“Azuma was one of a kind. An outstanding athlete, fighter, teacher trainer, and friend/mate to so many,” gym owner Tamara Fortune wrote in the GoFundMe page description. “We lost one of the best ones out there.”
“He did not deserve this,” Fortune added. “He was kind to all that he met and always engaged everyone in the gym with his positive energy and engaging personality.”