A Venice Beach hotel owner pleaded not guilty Tuesday in the shooting death of a homeless man on the boardwalk.
Sris Sinnathamby, owner of the Cadillac Hotel, entered the plea to first-degree murder. He faces life in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors say he wasn't holding the gun that killed 26-year-old Jascent-Jamal Warren about 2 a.m. Sunday but may have directed the attack, which followed a dispute. Witnesses say it began when group of homeless people had gathered outside the hotel at 8 Dudley Avenue.
Another man was shot in the leg and Sinnathamby suffered a head injury in the incident.
A community group said the killing is an example of what could be prevented by enforcing an ordinance that did not allowed people to sleep, sit or lie on a public street or sidewalk during the nighttime and overnight hours.
"We would like the city to be able to go back to enforcing the no lying, sitting, sleeping ordinances so that we don't have people sleeping right up against residences, inviting the kind of conflicts we keep seeing," said Mark Ryavec of the Venice Stakeholders Association.
A legal settlement in 2007 found moving or arresting people without permanent homes was unconstitutional and the city was barred from enforcement until 1,250 units were built for the homeless. The city said it is about 51 units away from that total, which could be completed in the fall.
The attorney who argued for the homeless in the original case does not believe the units will satisfy the settlement agreement.
Friends are mourning the loss of Warren, who went by Shakespeare. Paul Goldstein said Warren, like many others on the boardwalk, was just trying to survive.
"He was the last person on this planet who deserved to have that happen to him," Goldstein said.
One solution proposed by Ryavec's group is creating a buffer zone of 300 feet around businesses and residences, which would include most of the boardwalk.
"We really believe that that would make a big difference. We also believe that it would pass constitutional muster," he said.
The proposal is not currently among the possible amendments being considered by the City Council's Homelessness and Poverty Committee.
The proposals being considered have to do with the homeless and their property. For example, giving a 24-hour notice before removing any property.
The sit, sleep, lie ordinance would likely be reviewed when the 1,250 units are completed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.