About 50 Silver Lake residents and business owners gathered tonight near the scene of a Monday afternoon shooting, expressing concern about what they say is a pick-up in neighborhood crime and a slow down in police response. The outdoor meeting – which included Sunset Junction area restaurant owners, bartenders and music label executives – was held in the sunken patio and basketball court of Dangerbird Records, which was hit by at least two stray bullets that police said were fired following an argument between two males near a liquor store at Lucile Street and Sunset Boulevard. No one was injured but the incident unleashed concern about recent burglaries, robberies and muggings. “I just wanted to provide a venue for people in the community to share information, to get educated by the police and city officials about what’s happening and also to just have some pressure relief … because we are hurting,” said Dangerbird CEO Jeff Castelaz. “When gunshots go off in our neighborhood at anytime of the day … it’s traumatizing.”
Castelaz and others said police took about 20 minutes to arrive after shots were fired at about 4:20 PM. There were further delays apparently because the shooting took place on the dividing line between the LAPD’s Rampart and Northeast divisions. (the Northeast Division covers neighborhoods north of Sunset Boulevard, Rampart covers those to the south). Officers from the Rampart Division were the first to arrive to conduct an investigation. But, upon discovering that the shooting didn’t take place in the Rampart Division, officers from Northeast were called in but didn’t arrive for another 40 minutes.
But, during tonight’s meeting, Northeast Capt. William Murphy said a helicopter responded within minutes of the shooting, and the Rampart officers arrived in 10 minutes. Officers from Northeast, which stretches from Eagle Rock to Hollywood, took about 20 minutes to arrive because they were handling another urgent call, he said. “We [Northeast and Rampart] always back each other up … and respond to each others crimes along here,” Murphy said.
Police will be reviewing video tape from nearby stores to determine what exactly happened. “We will do the very best we can to piece this together,” Murphy said.
While crime is down so far this year across the Northeast Division, Murphy said burglaries and vehicle break-ins remain a big problem in Silver Lake. There have also been some other more serious crimes, including the armed robbery of the 7-Eleven store on Silver Lake Boulevard near some of the neighborhood’s most upscale restaurants and homes. (Murphy said the robbers are also believed to be responsible for holding up stores in Highland Park and other parts of the city)
Monday’s shooting comes about a year after a series of violent street robberies in Silver Lake and Echo Park also generated fears about neighborhood safety.