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Restaurant shooting leaves four dead in violent afternoon in L.A.

April 3, 2010 |  8:15 pm

A gunman opened fire at a restaurant in Valley Village on Saturday afternoon, killing four people and wounding another.

In a violent afternoon in Los Angeles, a gunman killed four people at a San Fernando Valley restaurant Saturday afternoon, and two men were shot in South Los Angeles.

Law enforcement sources, who asked not to be identified because the investigation is ongoing, told The Times they believe the restaurant shooting in Valley Village might have involved Armenian gangs. But they stressed that they have no evidence the victims were involved in gangs, noting that the case is in its early stages.

Around 4:40 p.m., a lone gunman entered the Hot Spot Middle Eastern restaurant on the 11650 block of Riverside Drive, said Los Angeles Police Officer Rosario Herrera. Six people were shot. Three were declared dead at the scene and three others were taken to a local hospital, where one later died, according to police.

The suspect is still at large, Herrera said.

“At this moment, it is an ongoing investigation,” she said. “We are unsure of the motive and we don’t know exactly how it occurred.”

Across town a few hours earlier, two men were shot on the 160 block of East 65th Street, Herrera said. About 1:35 p.m., a suspect fired multiple shots and struck two victims. Both victims were in their 30s. They were taken to a local hospital, where one died of his injuries. The other victim is in critical condition. The suspect remains at large, Herrera said. 

The incidents, which were not related, come after a series of killings in the last two weeks that have nearly erased impressive gains made this year in reducing the city’s homicide rate. Between March 20 and March 30, 19 people were killed, bringing the number of homicides in the city this year to 70, as of Tuesday.

Before the rise in violence, the LAPD had been posting double-digit decreases in the homicide rate compared to last year, in which a record low 314 people were killed.

-- My-Thuan Tran and Andrew Blankstein in Los Angeles, Ruben Vives in Valley Village

Photo: KTLA

Watch video report from KTLA here.