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4 men killed at Valley Village restaurant were targeted, LAPD says [Updated]

April 4, 2010 |  8:26 am
The four people killed at a San Fernando Valley restaurant were "targeted," Los Angeles Police Department officials said.

All of the victims were men, said Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese, commanding officer of operations at the Valley bureau. He said three of the men were pronounced dead at the restaurant, another later died at a local hospital. Two others were also wounded and are expected to survive.

[Updated at 2:04 p.m.: The Los Angeles Police Department have released the identities of the four men killed as Hayk Yegnanyan, 25, Sarkis Karadjian, 26, Harut Baburyan, 28, and Vardan Tofalyan, 31. Coroner and police officials are trying to determine where the men live, said Officer Sara Faden.]

"We don't have a crazed gunman running around North Hollywood that presents an immediate threat to public safety, to anyone in their homes or businesses in the area," Albanese said. "However, this is also not a random act of violence, this was an intentional act."

The Hot Spot Cafe, a Mediterranean restaurant on Riverside Drive, was packed with customers when a man walked in and opened fire around 4:40 p.m., according to police officials.

Investigators were also trying to determine the exact number of shooters and whether the gunman walked into the restaurant or was inside the restaurant shortly before the gunfire broke out. They snapped photographs outside the restaurant, including the sidewalk and parked cars, as well as inside. Riverside Drive was closed off between Colfax and Irvine avenues.

"This is a peaceful community that doesn't usually have to experience this kind of a shocking crime," said Councilman Paul Krekorian, whose district includes North Hollywood. "We will get to the bottom of this," Krekorian said.

Law enforcement sources, who asked not to be identified because of the ongoing investigation, said they believed the shooting might have involved Armenian gangs.

But they also said they have no evidence that the victims were involved in gangs, noting that the case was in its early stages. The shootings come after a series of killings in the last two weeks that have diminished gains made this year in reducing the city's homicide rate.

-- Ruben Vives in Valley Village