UPDATED: Police shoot man near homeless encampment on Venice Boulevard (Caution: graphic image)

LOS ANGELES (January 11, 2020) An alleged gunman lays on the sidewalk on Venice Boulevard near the 405 freeway overpass. Photograph courtesy Shawn Yvanez.

According to police and eyewitnesses, an armed man was reported on Venice Boulevard near a homeless encampment under the 405 freeway. He was quickly taken down by LAPD officers. Subsequent updates confirmed that the allegedly armed suspect was wounded at least once and transported to a nearby hospital. According to the department’s initial statement the incident occurred at approximately 12:40pm.

UPDATE (5:30pm) According to a post on the citizen app the suspect was pronounced dead at the hospital at or around 1:44pm. Local media have confirmed that report.

In an initial statement LAPD spokesman Sergeant Frank Preciado told reporters that, “At approximately 12:40pm we received a radio call of a 415, individual with a gun. The first responding vehicle here was actually the supervisor. He encountered the suspect and an officer involved shooting occurred.”

It remains unclear whether the man was armed at the time of the shooting. In a follow-up statement Sergeant Preciado said that the LAPD’s Force Investigation Unit was on the scene.

Resident Nick Diaz was across the street in his truck when he heard “six or seven shots.” Mr. Diaz, a Vietnam veteran, said they sounded like pistol shots. An Orange Line Metro bus was stopped near the scene, and Mr. Diaz said he saw two women fall off the bus to the ground. “I thought they got shot, but then they got back up and I was relieved to see that they were fine,” he said.

Within minutes LAPD vehicles swarmed the area. Mr. Diaz described a “swarm of police” with shotguns and pistols drawn. He said, “I think they were here already. I think maybe something already was going down.” By approximately 1:00pm officers had established a wide cordon, shutting down Venice Boulevard between Sepulveda and Sawtelle Boulevards.

The LAPD vehicle allegedly involved. Photograph by Christopher LeGras.

Shawn Yvanez, a technician at Z Expert Automotive across the street from the scene, captured pictures and video apparently showing a body laying on the sidewalk in front of the Shell station. A woman who had been buying food at a nearby food truck said the individual had been running toward the homeless camp when the police arrived. Several people speculated that the incident began as an attempted robbery at the Shell station.

The LAPD tweeted that the man’s condition was unknown. However, Mr. Yvanez said that he overheard an officer’s radio that the individual had died.

While it was not immediately clear whether the individual had any connection to the homeless encampment under the 405 overpass, that camp has been the scene of ongoing criminal activity including at least two previous shootings in February and June 2019. George Frem owns Exclusive Motors on the corner of Venice Boulevard and Globe Street. His security cameras have caught a shooting, as well as myriad drug deals, prostitution, and assaults. Last week his cameras captured residents of the camp throwing explosive devices into the street at passing cars.

LAPD subsequently tweeted that the area will be closed for up to 14 hours while the investigation continues.

More details as they emerge.

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