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Hollywood shootout: LAPD searching homes linked to gunman

December 9, 2011 |  4:47 pm

Photo: Detective Nicole Kittle of the LAPD Force Investigation Division looks as a person lies dead on Vine just south of Sunset in Hollywood. Credit: Gary Freidman / Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles police detectives spread out to several parts of Southern California on Friday investigating addresses connect to a gunman who randomly opened fire on drivers and pedestrians in Hollywood before being fatally shot by Los Angeles Police Department officers.

Police have so far found no motive in the shooting and don't believe the gunman knew his targets.

Law enforcement sources said detectives have checked on several addresses -- including at least one in the San Gabriel Valley -- to seek more information about the gunman, who has not been identified.

 EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Dramatic footage of shooting

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case was ongoing, said LAPD officers fired at least four shots but don't know how many shots the assailant fired.

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.

In addition to a gun, the assailant displayed a knife during the attack. 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.


 VIDEO: Dramatic footage of shooting

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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