Police Tuesday sought the public's help in identifying a suspect who shot a homeless man last week near an encampment in Mar Vista in an attack caught on surveillance video.
The shooting occurred about 3:05 p.m. Thursday beneath a freeway overpass in the area of Venice Boulevard and Globe Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The driver of an older-model Honda Accord was heading west on Venice then turned north on Globe and stopped. The driver got out of the car and jogged toward the sidewalk where three men were gathered near tents.
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He pulled a handgun from his shorts and opened fire on one of the men, all three of whom scattered, police said. A male passenger got out of the Honda, walked toward the encampment and pointed to a victim taking cover behind a tent before both suspects ran back to the car and drove away north on Globe Avenue, police said.
The victim who was hit by gunfire was taken to a hospital and was listed in stable condition, police said.
"It appears that the suspects knew the victim and (targeted) him," according to police.
The shooter was described as about 5 feet 9 inches tall, around 140 pounds with brown hair. He was wearing a black hat and T-shirt and blue shorts. The passenger was described as about 5 feet 11 inches tall, around 240 pounds and wearing a red hat, black shirt and blue jeans.
The shooting has prompted complaints from neighbors about the dangers of living near the homeless encampment.
"We've become victims here,'' resident Crystal Chen said. "Just stay for two minutes. You could see a drug transaction, prostitution."
Another resident said he'd found syringes thrown over the fence of his property and seen people passed out from drug use. On Tuesday morning, LAPD patrol cars and SUVs lined the curbs bordering the encampment and a team of officers from the city's Homeless Outreach and Proactive Engagement effort gathered under the overpass.
They were joined by representatives of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and sanitation workers dressed in white protective gear. None of the officers who spoke with City News Service mentioned the shooting, but said they were telling the people camped there that they have to pull their tents down during the day and limit their personal belongings on the street to an amount that would fit into a 60-gallon city recycling bin.
The sanitation workers were focused on cleaning up rotting food leftovers and human waste that had contributed to a rat problem, according to one of the officers. Most of the homeless people -- a mix of young and middle-aged men and women of various races -- seemed to be complying with what they were told, though at least one could be heard muttering in complaint as she packed up her things.
Another woman carried a tiny kitten, which looked flea-bitten, in her arms. LAPD Sgt. Adrian Maxwell said the people would not be forced to leave, only to comply with laws about camping on the street. Getting people to move off the street can be difficult, even when shelter beds are available, Maxwell said.
Those living on the street are often reluctant to abandon their neighborhood, which may be close to doctors they regularly see or home to other friends. Being able to offer temporary housing close to where they currently camp could be the key, the sergeant added.
The opposite side of the overpass, which is in Culver City and until recently was also an encampment, was clear of any people, belongings or debris and surrounded by construction barrier tape and safety cones. Construction work was going on nearby.
Anyone with information about the shooting was urged to call Pacific Area Detective M. Campos at (310) 482-6402, Detective L. Jurado at (310) 482- 6369 or Detective C. Carias at (310) 482-6372. After-hours or weekend calls should be directed to (877) LAPD-24-7. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling (800) 222-TIPS or at lacrimestoppers.org.