Gunfire broke out at a Los Angles "makeshift" restaurant early Saturday morning during a birthday party.
Three men died at the scene of the Los Angeles mass shooting in the West Adams neighborhood, and at least 12 other men and women were left wounded in the violence and were transported to local hospitals.
Police have yet to determine a specific motive for the shooting that occurred shortly after midnight, and the alleged perpetrators are apparently still at large. Surveillance video from a nearby business may provide some clues to the identity of the suspects, but the footage has yet to be released.
The Los Angeles Times described what happened in the shootout.
"Police say a gunfight erupted when three men left the house after an argument, returned with weapons and began shooting. Others fired back and partygoers were caught in the crossfire as the gun battle spilled into the driveway. On Saturday, authorities said they had identified two of the dead, recovered a gun from the scene and detained two persons of interest, a male and a female. The woman is among the wounded. But police had not identified the suspects...The house was a popular gathering spot in the Jamaican community and dozens were there Friday night for a birthday party.One police official affiliated with the gang homicide unit theorized that the shooting outbreak might be related to a drug transaction gone wrong. Neighbors suggested that 20 shots might have been fired.
Responding cops described it as a bloody, chaotic scene as at least 50 people were running from the location after shots were fired. "It as a bloody scene with shell casing everywhere" and "really devastating," LAPD Sgt. Frank Preciado said.
"This is one of the most horrific crime scenes I've seen in a while," the sergeant added, NBC News Los Angeles reported.
"The home was being used as a 'makeshift restaurant without permits,' and was filled with people doing 'everything from eating to playing dominos and listening to music,' when the argument happened, Preciado said.""The shooting occurred in a residential area of modest homes. Investigators were snapping photographs and scouring the ground in an area that extended over two blocks," AP detailed.
In a statement, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti expressed confidence that the LAPD would get to the bottom of what happened and why it happened, but also blamed the shooting on too easy access to guns, Fox11 noted.
Another fatal shooting reportedly occurred at the same house in 2011.According to a crime database maintained by the Los Angeles Times, there have been 109 reported violent crimes in the West Adams neighborhood in the six-month period that ended on August 28, along with 272 property crimes,, although no homicides until this weekend. "Over the last six months, the rate of 166.7 crimes per 10,000 people is higher than in nearby Jefferson Park, Arlington Heights and Mid-City and lower than Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw and Leimert Park." Overall, violent crime is said to be up nearly 16 percent throughout the city."Neighborhood residents say they have grown accustomed to gatherings and parties on the block. The closest neighbors said they can often smell grilled chicken and hear music. Some of the parties are larger and louder than others, but in general, they said they did not find the previous gatherings disruptive; neighbors described some of those who attended the parties as very nice," the Los Angeles Times added about the mass shooting in the West Adams district. The owner is well respected in the community for being accommodating. "If someone wants to have a party and doesn't have a space, they could go to the homeowner and ask to hold their event there," one local resident said. [Featured Image by Reed Saxon/AP Images]