The city of Hawthorne filed court papers Wednesday asking that a shopping center where a popular barber was shot to death be declared a nuisance.
The court papers also ask that a judge order an abatement of drug activity and other crimes that the city says have required police to respond to hundreds of calls to the shopping center in the 14100 block of Crenshaw Boulevard.
The still unofficial Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit identifies defendant Eli Matthews as the owner of the shopping center since 2014. Also named in the court papers is Godson Uduhiri, owner of the Da Point Lounge, one of the businesses at the center.
Neither Matthews nor a representative for him could be immediately reached for comment.
Paul "PJ'' Foster was killed last June 28. He worked at En Effect barber shop and was described by friends at the time as a "gentle giant'' as well as a dedicated family man with two children.
Police said Foster and a customer were standing outside talking when two men walked up wearing masks, or something covering their faces. One of the suspects opened fire before they ran to a car and fled the scene.
Since Matthews has owned the shopping center, it has become a hangout
for parolees, people on probation and known drug users, the city's court papers
Hawthorne police have responded to at least 300 calls regarding the property since October 2014, but numerous arrests have failed to stem the tide of drug activity and other crimes, according to the city's filing.
Inspectors also have found dangerous building and code violations at the center, the city's court papers state. Inspections of the Da Point Lounge by Los Angeles County inspectors found that tarps were being used as window coverings, inadequate interior "exit'' signs, a lack of emergency lighting and an extension cord being used to power the outdoor lounge sign, according to the city's court papers.