Los Angeles police have identified the suspected gunman who opened fire in a busy West Hills shopping center, killing one and injuring three others Saturday afternoon.
The shooting happened around 3:45 p.m., with police responding to the scene on reports of gunfire exchanged involving multiple people at a shopping plaza near Fallbrook Avenue and Vanowen Street.
A 45-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene. A 35-year-old woman, a 35-year-old man and a 45-year-old man were hospitalized in serious or critical condition, the Los Angeles Police Department said.
After the shootout, two of the suspects, a man and a woman, fled the area in a vehicle and were involved in a hit-a-run crash that injured an innocent driver, police said.
The suspects switched cars at one point and led police on a short pursuit and were eventually taken into custody about 2.5 miles away from the shopping center.
Images from the scene showed the suspects’ car riddled with bullet holes with major front-end damage.
On Sunday, police identified the suspected gunman as Mark Connole, 34, of Woodland Hills. Connole has been booked into the Van Nuys Jail with bail set at $2 million.
Police did not identify anyone else who may have been involved in the case.
Police are investigating if the shooting was gang-related and added that the shootout appears to be the result of a drug deal gone wrong.
Adam Strickland, an eyewitness, said he was heading out of a movie theater when the shooting happened.
“I heard a couple of pops and it didn’t even occur to me that they were gunshots until I saw people running down the parking lot,” said Strickland. “(A) guy who got shot just slowly fell to the ground and the people who were with him started panicking. A guy came in and started putting pressure on the guy’s wound.”
Businesses that were blocked included a Trader Joe’s, an AMC movie theater, a Chili’s restaurant and a Bob’s Discount Furniture store.
The deadly shootout terrorized shoppers and local residents.
“It’s not something that we’re used to. It’s such a bad experience. It was a beautiful day around here, but it ended up in such a tragedy,” said Kennedy Mukumbi, another witness.
The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information or video is urged to contact the LAPD Valley Bureau Homicide station at 818-374-9550. Anonymous tips can be submitted through Los Angeles Regional Crime Stoppers online or by calling 800-222-8477.
“We believe that all of the people involved in this dispute have been identified and we believe that we have them either in custody or we have them where we can provide them medical care and we will do a subsequent follow-up investigation after they are medically treated,” LAPD officials said.