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Hollywood shootout: Gunman's motive a mystery

December 12, 2011 |  6:59 am

LAPD officers run with guns drawn to the suspected gunman after the shooting spree on Vine Street in Hollywood

A motive remains elusive for a 26-year-old man who randomly fired on pedestrians and motorists in Hollywood on Friday, hitting a music producer in the face before being fatally shot by LAPD officers.

Tyler Brehm had recently broken up with his girlfriend, but authorities say they don't know if that is the motive behind the attack.

The couple moved into a Hollywood apartment complex about a month ago, neighbor Ermelinda Benitez confirmed to The Times. She described an incident about two weeks ago in which she saw Brehm in the hallway, banging on the door to his and girlfriend's unit. Benitez presumed the two were fighting and said Brehm was carrying a clear plastic bag with what appeared to be a comforter or blanket inside.

PHOTOS: A deadly scene in Hollywood

Friends in Pennsylvania, where Brehm grew up, were shocked by the violence. They described him as an athletic, friendly person.

“I last saw him about a year or two ago,” his former high school coach, Greg Clippinger, told the Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa.  “He was very friendly. When I heard the news, I was shocked. I wonder how things got that far and how he could do this. It didn’t seem like Tyler. He always seemed to value life and had a lot going for him. I said a prayer for him.”

"When you walk down the street shooting at people that's probably when you expect that you are going to die," friend Christina Mesropian told KABC-TV. "He was most probably asking for it."

VIDEO: Gunman in Hollywood

Girlfriend Alicia Alligood, 24, said  that she and Tyler Brehm, 26, dated for four years before breaking up. In an interview with KTLA News, she described Brehm as "really stressed out lately" and said he'd recently started taking pharmaceutical drugs, which she called surprising because she didn't know him to use hard drugs.

LAPD sources said that at about 10:20 a.m., Brehm began firing a .40-caliber handgun in the air and menacing motorists in a McDonald's parking lot before walking toward the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street. Just south of Sunset, he fired several shots at a silver Mercedes-Benz coupe. The driver, music industry executive John Atterberry, was struck by three bullets in the neck and face.

Brehm began walking into the bustling intersection, still firing into the air and at cars. Witnesses described a frenzied scene that some initially thought the shooting was part of a movie being filmed in the area. But once the sound of bullets striking cars filled the air, pedestrians sprinted away, dashing inside businesses and jumping over walls.

Several car windows were shot out. Drivers sped off or made U-turns, trying to avoid the gun-wielding Brehm, who wore sunglasses and was dressed in dark pants and a white tank top. An onlooker in a nearby building shouted at Brehm, trying to distract him. Some of the rampage was captured in videos and photos.

The shooting ended after about three minutes, when two LAPD officers, including an off-duty motorcycle officer working on a nearby movie set, confronted Brehm and ordered him to drop his gun.

Alligood said that she and Brehm went to junior high and high school together.  She called him a "humanitarian" and said he wanted to "change the world for the better."


Music executive remains in critical condition

Gunman wanted to 'change the world,' ex says

Gunman's ex: Breakup may have led to shooting

-- Andrew Blankstein, Dalina Castellanos and Richard Winton

Photo: LAPD officers with guns drawn run toward Tyler Brehm after Friday's shooting spree on Vine Street in Hollywood. Credit: Gregory Bojorquez