Police shoot gunman as he stalks Hollywood streets

AP News
Posted: Dec 10, 2011 3:43 AM
Police shoot gunman as he stalks Hollywood streets

When gunfire rang out on Sunset and Vine, some people on the streets of Hollywood thought there must be a movie set nearby.

But the bullets were real, and they left a gunman dead and a passing driver injured.

The 26-year-old man walked down the middle of the street Friday, firing on passing cars with no clear target until police shot and killed him, authorities said.

Investigators are trying to determine a motive for the attack.

"This is Hollywood, and they do film stuff all the time," Greg Watkins, who was walking along the street when the shooting began, told the Los Angeles Times. "I honestly thought they were filming something."

There were amateur cameras on the man, who in video clips had short hair and wore jeans and a white tank top as he paced back and forth near the busy intersection.

Chris Johns captured video of the gunman from his apartment window several stories above the street, and tried to distract and divert the gunman from shooting anyone on the street.

"Hey why don't you come up here! Come up here buddy!" Johns yelled.

Johns told KABC-TV he saw a plainclothes officer shoot the man.

"I started shouting out to the officer, saying `take him out, that's the guy!'" Johns said.

The gunman was pronounced dead at the scene, Los Angeles police Officer Cleon Joseph said. No officers were hurt.

The area was cordoned off and the gunman lay under a white sheet in the street hours after the gunfire, leaving traffic tangled on busy Hollywood streets, an area is packed with stores and restaurants.

The 40-year-old male driver of a Mercedes-Benz was wounded in his upper body and taken to a hospital in unknown condition. A truck and another car were struck by bullets.

Oscar Herrera, a witness, said he saw the gunman walking down the middle of Vine Street near Sunset Boulevard, firing at least nine shots into the air and at passing cars.

"People were running all over," Herrera told KABC. "People was ducking."

The gunman eventually ran out of ammunition and pulled a knife before a policeman fired at him four or five times, Herrera said.

He was a 26-year-old from Los Angeles, police spokeswoman Norma Eisenman said. Police said they aren't immediately releasing his name at his family's request until other family members could be contacted.

Dave Pepper told KCAL-TV that he was in his car when the gunman came at him.

"This guy came running across the street and he put the gun right up to this window," Pepper said as he sat in the car. "Why he didn't pull the trigger I don't know."