A man was killed on Saturday in a shooting near the Grand Central Market, sending customers to the landmark food hall under cover.
The shooting was reported at 3:56 p.m. in the 300 block on South Hill Street, Los Angeles police said. An employee at Grand Central Market said it happened at an entrance to the popular destination in the city center.
In a statement on Instagram, the market said the “isolated incident” occurred on adjacent Hill Street.
The male shooter was at large and LAPD police searched the area.
Several videos posted on social media show people running after the market exit; at least one shows a person who does not seem to move on the ground near an entrance.
The independent journalist Tina-Desiree Berg was in the market and ended after covering a protest against abortion rights in the area when she heard the shots ringing and fell to the ground.
“We had just popped in there to get food and a beer after the dam march. I had just finished my lunch, says Berg in an interview. “And then it was like ‘Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.’ Like six shots.”
A group of parents with small children – who seemed to have come from a Little League match – were behind Berg, she said. The parents dragged the children to the ground.
“They tried to get them on the floor and then try to get them out,” she said.
Berg’s journalistic instinct struck and she started filming, even though she wondered if the pictures were just the beginning of something worse.
“At first I was not sure what to think,” she said. “Will this be the beginning of a mass shooting?”
Berg said that many others seemed to have the same idea, to “scream and run” from the market. She and some of her friends and other independent journalists had just discussed another mass shooting on Saturday in Buffalo, NY, when the shots were heard.
“I can not believe it just happened,” she said.
Sean Beckner-Carmitchel, an independent journalist who was in the market, had just left Berg and others to take the frame at one of the market stalls when the shots rang.
“I started filming almost immediately,” he said. His video shows people, including a woman pushing a pram, fleeing the market frantically. “Someone is shooting!” says a man.
Beckner-Carmitchel said he began to move in the opposite direction to everyone else, towards where the sound of the shooting came from.
When he came to Hill Street, he saw an injured man hugging his chest, Beckner-Carmitchel said.
Police arrived shortly after, he said. Partly because most had already fled, it calmed down quickly.
Beckner-Carmitchel said the shooting, just as he returned from work and as soon as the news broke from Buffalo, 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. Although the incident did not take place in the Grand Central Market, we will step up security and work proactively with appropriate authorities to further assess the situation.
“We are devastated that something is happening so close to our door,” the statement added.
Representative Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) called for stricter gun laws.
“This is a development situation,” he tweeted. “But while we wait for more details to come in, one thing is clear: we need security measures for weapons. And we need them now.”
The shooting occurred just hours after ten people were killed and three injured in what is believed to be a racist hate crime in a supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood in Buffalo.