A man was killed Saturday in a shooting near Grand Central Market, sending patrons of the landmark food hall running for cover.
The shooting was reported at 3:56 pm in the 300 block of South Hill Street, Los Angeles police said. A Grand Central Market employee said it occurred at an entrance to the popular downtown destination.
In a statement posted to Instagram, the market said the “isolated incident” occurred on neighboring Hill Street.
The male shooter was at large, and LAPD officers were searching the area.
Multiple videos posted on social media show people running for the market’s exits; at least one shows a person who does not appear to be moving on the ground near an entrance.
Independent journalist Tina-Desiree Berg was at the market winding down after covering an abortion rights protest in the area when she heard the shots ring out and dropped to the ground.
“We had just popped in there to get food and a beer after the women’s march. I had just finished my lunch, ”Berg said in an interview. “And then it was like, ‘Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.’ Like six shots. ”
A group of parents with young kids – who appeared to have come from a Little League game – were behind Berg, she said. The parents pulled the kids to the ground.
“They were trying to get them on the floor and then trying to get them outside,” she said.
Berg’s journalist instincts kicked in, and she started filming, even as she wondered whether the shots were just the beginning to something worse.
“At first I wasn’t sure what to think,” she said. “Is this going to be the start of a mass shooting?”
Berg said many others seemed to have the same thought, “screaming and running” from the market. She and a few of her friends and fellow independent journalists had just been discussing another mass shooting Saturday in Buffalo, NY, when the gunshots rang out.
“I can’t believe that just happened,” she said.
Sean Beckner-Carmitchel, an independent journalist who was at the market, had just left Berg and others to grab ramen at one of the market stalls when the shots rang out.
“I started filming almost immediately,” he said. His video shows people, including a woman pushing a stroller, frantically fleeing the market. “Somebody’s shooting!” a man says.
Beckner-Carmitchel said he began moving in the opposite direction of everyone else, toward where the sound of the shooting had come from.
When he got to Hill Street, he saw a man who was wounded clutching his chest, Beckner-Carmitchel said.
Police arrived soon after, he said. In part because most people had already fled, things calmed down quickly.
Beckner-Carmitchel said the shooting, just as he was coming off work and so soon after the news broke out of Buffalo, was especially jarring.
“It’s striking me in a little bit of a different way,” he said.
In a statement, representatives of the market said, “Our market tenants and guests are all safe. While the incident did not take place within Grand Central Market, we will be tightening security and proactively working with proper authorities to further assess the situation.
“We are devastated to have something occur so close to our door,” the statement added.
Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) called for stricter gun laws.
“This is a developing situation,” he tweeted. “But as we wait for more details to come in, one thing is clear: We need gun safety measures. And we need them now. ”
The shooting came just hours after 10 people were killed and three wounded in what is believed to be a racially motivated hate crime at a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo.