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4 dead in 'blood bath' at Valley restaurant

At least two other people are injured as gunman opens fire at a mom-and-pop cafe in Valley Village.

April 03, 2010|By My-Thuan Tran and Andrew Blankstein

A gunman opened fire at a mom-and-pop restaurant in Valley Village on Saturday afternoon, killing four people and wounding at least two others, Los Angeles police said.

The Hot Spot Cafe, a Mediterranean restaurant on Riverside Drive, was packed with customers when a man walked in and opened fire around 4:40 p.m., according to police officials.

He remained at large late Saturday.

Police officials said the shootings occurred in a matter of moments.

After shots were fired, the customers ran out of the restaurant and scattered on foot and in cars, they said.

The killer was a white male in his 30s, said Los Angeles police officer Rosario Herrera.

Three people were declared dead at the scene, Herrera said. Several more victims were taken to a hospital, where one later died, she said.

Police officials investigating the incident described the scene as a "blood bath." They are examining evidence to see whether there was an accomplice, according to officials.

"At this moment, it is an ongoing investigation," Herrera said. "We are unsure of the motive and we don't know exactly how it occurred."

Law enforcement sources, who asked not to be identified because the investigation is ongoing, said they believe the shooting might have involved Armenian gangs.

But they also said that they have no evidence that the victims were involved in gangs, noting that the case is in its early stages.

Several hours after the killings, police cordoned off Riverside Drive near Colfax Avenue.

A large neon sign flashing "Mediterranean Restaurant" lit up as the sun set. Tall leafy plants in pots sat in front of the windows.

A few hours before the shooting in Valley Village, two men were fatally shot across town in the 160 block of E. 65th Street, Herrera said. The shooter was at large Saturday night.

Herrera said the two shooting incidents were not related.

The shootings come after a series of killings in the last two weeks that have diminished gains made this year in reducing the city's homicide rate.

my-thuan.tran@latimes.com

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

Times staff writer Ruben Vives contributed to this report.

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