The search for several suspects in connection with a triple fatal shooting Monday night in the parking lot of a popular Mexican restaurant in North Hollywood continues.
Calls about the shooting outside Ernie’s Taco House at the intersection of Moorpark Street and Lankershim Boulevard came in around 9:30 p.m., according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Details are limited and it’s unclear what exactly led to the deadly shootings, but police said that three to four suspects, described only as Hispanic males dressed in black clothing, pulled up to the victims’ black Mercedes and fired several shots at the four people inside before fleeing the scene in a silver sedan.
One of the victims, identified by the L.A. County Department of the Medical Examiner, as 26-year-old Calvin Saldana, died at the scene.
The driver of the Mercedes was able to drive himself and two others to a hospital in Burbank where two of those victims died. Authorities did not provide any information on the condition of the surviving victim.
Nelson Esturdo, a manager at Ernie’s, said none of the people involved in the shooting were customers.
“We were already closed, we close at 9 p.m., so, yeah, they weren’t customers,” he told KTLA’s Kimberly Cheng. “They were just in the parking lot. I think they met up in the parking lot and that’s when it happened.”
Esturdo added that he was in shock that three people died from a shooting there because incidents like that are very rare in the area.
Homicide detectives were on the scene for hours, combing the area for evidence, speaking to witnesses.
Video of the scene showed the canopy over the deceased victim, which appeared to be on or near the street. In the parking lot, evidence markers were placed around what looked like a blood-soaked item of clothing.
“We heard the five shots, and then after that we heard the helicopters circling around and then we came out and we saw that there was a lot of excitement with the police,” a woman who lives nearby, who did not want to appear on camera, told KTLA. “Apparently, a victim who was shot ran over here and died.”
Marcus Nash, who works in the area and eats at Ernie’s often said the incident is disheartening.
“It’s shocking. It’s shocking and disheartening to know that that this type of thing is happening in any community, but especially where you work and where you know a lot of the people,” he said. “My heart goes out to the victims.
Pete Jandris, who lives in the area, said that normally the neighborhood is pretty quiet around that time of night and it’s mostly just people walking their dogs.
Other residents said that knowing three people were killed close to home leaves them unsettled.
“It’s pretty scary,” the woman who lives nearby said. “I’ll be looking out for sure.”
KTLA has learned that investigators have security footage that is now a part of the investigation. Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact the Los Angeles Police Department.