Los Angeles: Los Angeles detectives are asking the public’s help in providing any information related to the murder of two men in a Skidrow hotel, early Easter morning, April 12, 2009.
“The motive for the shooting is not clear,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, head of detectives for the Central Police Station. “And, while this may have happened in Skidrow, the crime had nothing to do with the homeless; these types of disputes tend to be about drugs and money.”
Around 5 a.m. Sunday morning, persons called police, reporting “shots fired” at the Lamp Lodge, 630 S. Stanford Street in Skidrow. Police officers found two bodies at the hotel. Paramedics pronounced both men dead at the scene. Neither man was identified. One man was estimated to be in his mid-fifties and the other in his mid-twenties.
This double homicide is the first murder downtown for 2009. “Twenty years ago we would have seen scores of these killings in a year,” Vernon said. “But last year closed with only six homicides.” The last murder on Skidrow was June 16, 2008, after a man hit his head on the pavement during a fight on San Julian Street.
Police made nearly 6,000 narcotics arrests downtown last year, the majority of them in Skidrow. Shots-fired incidents dropped precipitously in 2008, from 94 to 32 (-66%). Today’s homicide was only the third report of a shooting downtown this year. “We find far fewer guns downtown now that the criminal element has found it’s harder to work here,” Vernon added. “That’s made Skidrow safer for everyone.”
Police officers made fewer dangerous-weapons arrests last year. Lt. Vernon attributed that to local Skidrow residents feeling safer today, and thus, “They find it less necessary to carry a weapon for their own protection.”
Statistics for 2008 showed that when a weapon was used, it was a gun only 3 percent of the time. The most common force used in Skidrow is bodily force, followed by knives.
Anyone with information is asked to call Central Area Detectives at 213-842-0727 during normal business hours. After hours and on weekends, phone the 24-hour toll-free Detective Information Desk at 1-877-ASK-LAPD (529-3855). Persons can also send anonymous tips by texting CRIMES (274637) and typing LAPD to start the message.