Police shot and killed a man at a shopping center on Crenshaw Boulevard in the Baldwin Hills area Tuesday evening, authorities said.
Officers first responded to the scene at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, located at the intersection of Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards, around 5:40 p.m., Los Angeles Police Officer Mike Lopez said.
Although LAPD originally said they were responding to a shooting, an official later said officers were sent following a report of a man with a knife.
Witnesses reported a man was acting erratically inside the mall and security guards had been trying to get him to leave for the better part of an hour. Some said they believed he was on drugs.
“After a while, I guess they were calling it into police that something sketchy’s happening," said witness Juan Zepeda. "He was standing kind of sketchy, like he was about to do something.”
After police arrived at the scene, they fatally shot the man. His body remained inside the plaza late Tuesday night.
It's unclear what prompted LAPD to use deadly force, and also unclear how many shots were fired or how many officers discharged their weapons. Police have not released many details about the incident or what led up to it.
According to Zepeda, the man was armed with a knife but trying to run away when he was shot.
“They shot toward his back, yeah,” he told KTLA. “I saw the smoke coming out of the guns and everything.”
LAPD did confirm that a knife was recovered from the scene.
Four gunshots and people screaming could be heard in video from the scene shared with KTLA, and Paula Reed, who works at the mall, said she heard seven shots. The violent incident created a panic as patrons and employees ran for cover, she said.
“Everybody was scared, running in," Reed said. "I ran to the door to lock our door up.”
Aerial footage obtained by Sky5 showed a large police response, with numerous patrol vehicles stationed outside various entrances. There was also an ambulance outside the Sears.
Officers could also be seen taping off the mall's entrances, portions of the parking lot and two benches outside the entrance near the T.J.Maxx. Police were escorting patrons who were still inside the shopping center out to the parking lot.
The man was the sixth person to be fatally shot by on-duty LAPD officers this year, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza was closed for the remained of the day Tuesday, and some business would possibly be impacted Wednesday as police continued their investigation, Lt. Chris Ramirez said.
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the day the incident occurred on, which was Tuesday.