A man was killed in a shooting near Grand Central Market on Saturday, sending patrons of the iconic food hall running for cover.
The shooting was reported at 3:56 p.m. in the 300 block of South Hill Street, Los Angeles police said. A Grand Central Market employee said it happened at the entrance to the popular downtown destination.
In a statement posted on Instagram, the market said the “isolated incident” occurred on neighboring Hill Street.
The shooter was at large and LAPD officers were searching the area.
Multiple videos posted on social media show people running to market exits; at least one shows a person who does not appear to move on the ground near an entrance.
Freelance journalist Tina-Desiree Berg was in the market relaxing after covering an abortion rights protest in the area when she heard the gunshots and fell to the ground.
“We had just gone 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 have come from a Little League game, were behind Berg, he said. The parents threw the children to the ground.
“They were trying to put them on the ground and then trying to get them outside,” he said.
Berg’s journalistic instincts kicked in and he began filming, even as he wondered if the shots were just the start of something worse.
“At first I wasn’t sure what to think,” she said. “Is this the start of a mass shooting?”
Berg said many others seemed to have the same thought, “screaming and running” from the market. She and some of her friends and fellow freelance journalists had just spoken about another mass shooting Saturday in Buffalo, New York, when the shots rang out.
“I can’t believe that just happened,” he said.
Sean Beckner-Carmitchel, a freelance journalist who was at the market, had just left Berg and others for ramen at one of the market stalls when shots rang out.
“I started filming almost immediately,” he said. Video of her shows people, including a woman pushing a stroller, frantically fleeing the market. “Someone is shooting!” says a man.
Beckner-Carmitchel said he started moving in the opposite direction from everyone else, toward where the sound of gunfire was coming from.
When he got to Hill Street, he saw an injured man clutching his chest, Beckner-Carmitchel said.
Police arrived shortly after, he said. Partly because most people had already fled, things quickly settled down.
Beckner-Carmitchel said the shooting, just as he was leaving work and shortly after the news broke in Buffalo, was especially shocking.
“It’s appealing to me in a little bit of a different way,” he said.
In a statement, market representatives said: “Our market tenants and guests are safe. While the incident did not take place inside 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 doorstep,” the statement added.
Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) called for tougher gun laws.
“This is a developing situation,” he tweeted. “But while 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 Buffalo neighborhood.