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Masked gunman shoots 2 outside Little Tokyo nightclub

July 23, 2011 |  8:18 am

Two men were shot by a masked gunman as they stood in front of a nightclub in Little Tokyo early Saturday morning.

Los Angeles Police Lt. Paul Vernon said both men are in critical condition after surgery following the shooting outside Vault XXI Boutique Lounge, 333 Alameda St.

“We’re lucky more people were not injured in this attack,” Vernon said.  “It appears the victims were targeted by the suspect as they stood at the entrance to the nightclub.”

Witnesses said a man wearing a ski mask walked into the courtyard from the sidewalk on Alameda Street about 1:30 a.m. and start shooting after he barked out a short phrase. Two men in their mid-20s who were smoking at the entrance to the nightclub were the apparent targets, Vernon said. Both fell from multiple gunshot wounds and crawled into the nightclub’s entrance.

Vernon said the shooter ran back to Alameda, then north toward 3rd Street. Witnesses described him as wearing a beige hat, similar to the popular mini-fedoras, a dark flannel shirt and jeans.

Detectives examined the scene and noted more than a half dozen shell casings from a semiautomatic handgun.

“There’s a number of people out there who do know who did this,” Lt. Vernon said. “We’d hope they would come forward right away.”

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-- Richard Winton

Downtown L.A. crime over last six months:

Violent crimes (486)
Property crimes (1,748)
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