4 Dead in Valley Village Restaurant Shooting [Updated]
A police perimeter around the crime scene | Photo by Zach Behrens/LAist
A shooting inside a Valley Village restaurant left four people dead this afternoon. Around 4:30 p.m., a group of men were eating at the Hot Spot Cafe at 11651 Riverside Drive when shots were fired, hitting at six people. Police say three died inside and one reportedly died in transport or at the hospital [Update, 9:59 p.m.: Police are now officially confirming that the fourth victim died at the hospital. The other two are in critical but stable condition].
"We have a very complex investigation that we are involved in right now," Deputy Chief Kirk J. Albanese said, explaining that the incident appears to be isolated. "We don't believe we have a crazed gunman running around the streets right now looking to shoot other people. We don't have any information to believe that."
Albanese, however, added: "Anytime we have a shooting at an eatery in broad daylight, we all need to be worried."
Matt Edwards, a neighbor who heard the gunshots, said he immediately knew it happened at the Mediterranean eatery. "The place is so shady," he explained. "It opened like five years ago... I went in there to get something to eat and they didn't even know what they were doing making the food."
Sources tell LAist the shooting "was no accident." According to the LA Times, it "might have involved Armenian gangs" while other media gathered at the scene spoke of the Armenian mafia. Police said they had no further information in that regards, citing it's too early to say.
But neighbors said they were always suspicious of the cafe. "How do you run a business when there are no customers?" questioned Bettye Hicks, who lives down the street. An employee at Marie Et Cie, a coffee house catty corner to the restaurant, said no one ever goes in and out of the business.
Albanese said the investigation involves other local agencies, but would not specify which.