Hollywood shootout: Gunman calmly targeted drivers, pedestrians
A gunman pointed his weapon at more than a dozen people Friday as he randomly opened fire on drivers and pedestrians in Hollywood before being fatally shot by Los Angeles Police Department officers.
Video shows the gunman calmly pointing his handgun and opening fire on passing cars near Vine Street and Sunset Boulevard near the ArcLight Cinema.
A man driving a Mercedes was shot in the jaw and taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was in critical condition. He is expected to survive.
The scene resembled a fast-moving Hollywood production, said some witnesses, leaving them with the sensation that they'd witnessed something surreal.
"When I heard it, I didn't react to it being real," said Greg Watkins, a student at the nearby Los Angeles Recording School who was walking on the street and had just taken off his headphones to take a call from his girlfriend when the shooting began.
"This is Hollywood, and they do film stuff all the time," he said, standing near the ArcLight Cinemas. "I honestly thought they were filming something."
Serge Durand, who said he was visiting from Atlanta, filmed the attacks from a friend's apartment above the intersection. In the video, a gray car swerves to avoid the shooter as he points what appears to be a weapon at the car.
"Is this the end?" Durand said he heard the shooter exclaim.
Emmanuel Fierro, 21, staying with a friend in another apartment above the intersection and also a student at the recording school, said, "I walk through these streets every day to go to school."
"I couldn't believe what was happening in the streets," he said, "but I guess this is Hollywood."
The attacks began about 10 a.m. south of Sunset, police said.
A young man in a white tank top was spotted walking up the street yelling and firing a handgun in the air. He then turned to firing at passing motorists who seemed to be picked at random, including the man in the Mercedes, police sources said.
The gunman was eventually shot by a detective and an off-duty officer who may have been working on a movie set nearby.
Police have so far found no motive in the shooting.
In addition to a gun, the attacker also displayed a knife during the incident. LAPD detectives have gone to the man’s home to make sure there was not a domestic incident or some other act of violence that precipitated the shooting.
-- Hailey Branson-Potts
Photo: LAPD Det. Nicole Kittle examines the scene where officers shot the gunman on Vine Street just south of Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times