Homicide detectives were investigating after a man was shot and killed in a dispute over a shoe raffle on Melrose Avenue in the Fairfax district Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
Employees at the Shoe Palace at 7725 Melrose Ave., where the shooting took place, said the man killed was their co-worker, 26-year-old Jayren Bradford.
An argument arose among a group of men and women at a shoe raffle in front of the store. The victim arrived amid the dispute around 12:30 p.m. and was shot by another man, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a news release.
Cellphone video that captured the incident shows Bradford being swarmed by people before someone opens fire.
Witnesses said Bradford was trying to intervene when he was shot.
“Jay came from his car and he confronted them saying, ‘What’s the problem? What’s the deal?’ Then everybody shifted their aggression towards Jay,” said Keyshawn Williams, a colleague of Bradford’s at the store. “And they were here with other friends, so they all surrounded him and that’s when he was shot.”
Responding officers say they found a man in his mid-20s in the street suffering from a gunshot wound. Paramedics transported him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“My one colleague was there right in front of him. He was trying to help him, trying to stop the blood,” Williams said. “But it was fatal.”
Bradford lived down the street and had only been working at the store a few months. It was a job he enjoyed while pursuing his dream of becoming a musician, Williams said.
“He always made me feel welcome, and like this was somewhere you want to be,” he said. “He was just a good guy. He was an outgoing peer who always wanted to make friends.”
People were seen mourning Wednesday night outside the store, where a memorial was set up with candles and photos of Bradford.
Another friend who stopped by the growing memorial the following morning said Bradford was from Colorado, where his mother and brother still live. He said Bradford was a straight-A student who he described as innocent.
“Now, we don’t even know what his whole potential could have been,” Bennett Francois said.
Police describe the suspect as a Latino man in his early 20s with short hair. They say he was last seen getting into a sedan, possibly a Toyota Camry.
Investigators say they’re reviewing surveillance video in hopes of generating leads.
Melrose Avenue was blocked off between Genesee and Spaulding avenues Wednesday afternoon while authorities investigated the scene and searched for the gunman. The shooting occurred on a well-trafficked strip of the avenue, lined with boutiques and restaurants.