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Hollywood shootout: Gunman screamed 'he wanted to die'

December 9, 2011 |  1:12 pm

Photographer Gregory Bojorquez was on the way to the Bank of America early Friday when he saw people running, screaming that there was a gunman on the loose.

A young man in a white tank top was shooting randomly at cars and in the air, until finally he was shot by Los Angeles police in the middle of the intersection at Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street.

“I saw him standing in the middle of the intersection just shooting randomly at people in cars,” he said. “At first it seemed like a movie but then you could hear the shots hitting metal.”

Video: Witness captures dramatic footage of shooting

The gunman shot a man in a silver Mercedes Benz, he said. Authorities said that man is listed in critical condition.

Bojorquez said he then saw a plainclothes officer emerge from a squad car.

“I screamed at this plainclothes officer who got out, 'That is the guy. That is the guy,’ because the gunman was heading down the street,” he said.

Bojorquez said the officer ordered the gunman to get on the ground and surrender, but the gunman appeared to ignore him. 

“He was screaming he was going to die and that he wanted to die,” Bojorquez said.

The photographer said the man had a knife as well as a gun. “Then he acted like he was going for his gun,” Bojorquez said. “The officer shot, like, four times.”

At first, he said, the gunman did not look like he was hit,  but he eventually slumped to the ground.

“That officer saved a lot of lives,” Bojorquez said.

The gunman's body, draped in a white shroud, remained at the intersection for some time. A motive for the shooting remains unknown.

Visiting from New Jersey for holidays, Joel Worsham, a Southern California native, and his girlfriend, Lilly Ballesteros, were walking to eat breakfast at The Waffle on Sunset Boulevard near Vine Street when the shooting started.

“We heard five shots in a row,” Worsham said. He thought it was car backfiring.

Worsham, 32, said he walked over to see what was going on and a passerby told him there was a shooting. Then he heard six or seven more shots and ran into the breakfast diner for cover.

“We were just shaking,” Worsham said. “I just got home yesterday and what a welcome back.”

“I’ve never seen such a thing in my life,” Ballesteros said.


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Photo: Investigators at the scene of a fatal shooting in Hollywood. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times