A woman who was shot in the back of the head with a shotgun while walking with her boyfriend in Hollywood Sunday night appeared to have been killed in a “random act of violence,” police said Monday.
The victim was identified Monday afternoon as Carrie Jean Melvin, 30, according to Lt. John Radtke with LAPD's West Bureau Homicide. The coroner's office confirmed the victim's name and age and said an investigator was still working on a report.
Melvin was walking with her boyfriend near Sunset Boulevard and McCadden Place (map), about a block away from the heavily used intersection of Sunset and Highland Avenue, when she was shot and killed around 10 p.m. Sunday, Los Angeles Police Department officials said.
"At this time it appears to be a random act of violence and there’s no known motive for what happened," Detective John Skaggs said.
The gunman approached the couple from behind and shot the woman in the back of the head using a shotgun, police at the scene said. It was unclear how many times she was shot.
Melvin was about a block from her front door when she was gunned down.
"Witnesses and the boyfriend report that the suspect just appeared and fired the gunshot," Skaggs said. "There were no words exchanged."
The gunman -- described by Skaggs only as a black man in his 30s in dark clothing -- fled the scene in a black sedan.
The boyfriend, who was not injured, was cooperating with investigators and was not in custody, Radtke said.
Neighbor Travis Holder said he heard the gunshots but thought they were post-holiday fireworks going off.
"It was very echo-y, very loud," Holder said.
He said he didn't know Melvin well enough other than to say hello on the street. But, he said, "It doesn't seem to me that she's the kind of person who would be involved in something shady."
The shooting occurred about a block away from Hollywood High School and near several businesses, including a Chick-fil-A that was closed on Sunday. It was not immediately known if surveillance footage captured the attack.
Local residents were alarmed at the violent death, saying the area is close to tourist hot-spots and experiences crime but nothing so vicious as Sunday night's slaying.
"We're going to move out of here," said Paula Martinez. "I'm just like, am I going to get shot?"
Melvin was from Morro Bay and attended UC Santa Cruz, according to her Facebook page. She had worked at the closed Haven Gastropub in Pasadena, as well as SteingartenLA in West L.A.
Staff at Dave & Buster's in Hollywood confirmed that Melvin worked there during the period in which she was killed. They referred media inquiries to the restaurant chain's corporate office.
Correction: An earlier version of this story gave the incorrect intersection for where the shooting occurred. The story has been updated with the correct information.