A man was killed Saturday in a shooting near Grand Central Market that left patrons of the historic food hall running for cover.
The shooting was reported at 3:56 p.m. on the 300 block of South Hill Street, the Los Angeles Police Department said. A Grand Central Market employee said it happened at an entrance to the popular downtown destination.
In an Instagram statement, the market said the “isolated incident” took place in neighboring Hill Street.
The male shooter was at large and LAPD officers searched the area.
Multiple videos posted on social media show people running towards the exits of the market; at least one shows a person who doesn’t seem to be moving on the ground near an entrance.
Independent journalist Tina-Desiree Berg was winding down the market after covering a protest against abortion rights in the area when she heard gunshots and fell to the ground.
“We had just walked 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 children — who appeared to be from a Little League game — stood behind Berg, she said. The parents pulled the children to the ground.
“They tried to get them on the ground and then tried to get them out,” she said.
Berg’s journalistic instinct kicked in and she started filming, even though she wondered if the footage was just the start of 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, “yelling and running” from the market. She and some of her friends and fellow independent reporters were just talking about another mass shooting in Buffalo, NY, on Saturday when the shots rang out.
“I can’t believe that just happened,” she said.
Sean Beckner-Carmitchel, an independent market reporter, had just left Berg and others to get windows from one of the market stalls when the shots rang out.
“I started filming almost immediately,” he said. His video shows people frantically fleeing the market, including a woman pushing a pram. “Someone is shooting!” says a man.
Beckner-Carmitchel said he started moving in the opposite direction to everyone else, toward where the sound of the shooting was coming from.
When he got to Hill Street, he saw an injured man holding his chest, Beckner-Carmitchel said.
Police arrived shortly afterwards, he said. Partly because most people had already fled, it quickly calmed down.
Beckner-Carmitchel said the shooting, just as he was coming home from work and so soon after the news from Buffalo broke, was particularly shocking.
“It strikes me in a slightly different way,” he said.
In a statement, market representatives 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 the appropriate authorities to further assess the situation.
“We are devastated that something is happening so close to our door,” the statement added.
Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) called for tougher gun laws.
“This is an evolving situation,” he tweeted. “But while we wait for more details, one thing is clear: we need weapons security measures. And we need it now.”
The shooting happened just hours after ten people were killed and three injured in what is believed to be a racially motivated hate crime at a supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood of Buffalo.