Los Angeles: Los Angeles detectives are investigating an early-morning shooting that occurred in the 500 block of South Maple Street, just feet from the Central Police Station, this morning, July 19, 2010.
Around 12:45 a.m., witnesses reported hearing at least one gunshot just west of the police station, on Maple Street. “Dozens of people sleep over night on the sidewalk on this block every night,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, who is in charge of detectives for downtown. “Overnight disputes often lead to violence and people sleeping on the street are vulnerable. This is why we encourage everyone to use the shelters.”
According to witnesses, an argument between two men on the sidewalk may have preceded the shooting. Police found a 35-year-old man dead on the sidewalk, shot at least one time. Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene.
“At first look, it appears the victim was the intended target,” Lt. Vernon said. “The victim did not live or sleep on Skidrow.”
The victim was recently paroled from prison on a narcotics conviction.
Detectives interviewed several witnesses and members of the victim’s family. “We could use any information at all,” Lt. Vernon added. “There were dozens of people on the street when it happened, and word travels fast in Skidrow.”
This is the third homicide downtown this year. The two prior homicides, both shootings, were solved by arrests.
Two more homicides have been attributed to this year when two victims in unrelated cases died years after the initial crime. One incident was a stabbing in 2008, and the other stemmed from a fist fight in which the victim hit his head on the sidewalk and never regained consciousness.
Anyone with information on this crime is urged to call Detective Patricia Hauck, Central Homicide Unit, at 213-842-0727. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.