Police responded to a call about shots fired around 3:30 a.m. near Maple Avenue and Washington Boulevard south of downtown Los Angeles.
Officers arrived to find the man, believed to be in his 40s, dead inside the car.
Though police did not release the victim's identity, friends identified him as Raymond Garcia. Linda Rodarte said the victim went by the nickname "Camel."
"I don't know who would do this to him. You know, he was a good guy," Rodarte said through tears.
Rodarte said Garcia came to the Washington Plaza Dialysis Center a few times a week for treatment very early in the morning. A security guard who works in the plaza says he was the first to find Garcia after the gunshots rang out.
Fellow dialysis patient Robert Haney said he must have pulled up just moments later.
"I thought he was getting out of the car, because his door was open," Haney said. "I was just glad it wasn't me."
Garcia's body was taken by Los Angeles County coroner's officials as investigators with the Los Angeles Police Department's Newton Division try to figure out a motive. They believe Garcia was targeted and was not a random victim.
Investigators said nothing was taken from Garcia's SUV, so they don't believe robbery was the motive.
Officers are gathering surveillance footage from the shopping center, though they're not sure what the cameras captured.
Authorities do not have any information on a suspect, leaving Garcia's family in search of answers.
"It's going to be hard, but we've got to get through it. His wife is devastated," Rodarte said.