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Sherman Oaks murder might be drug-related

March 27, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The man fatally shot inside his Sherman Oaks apartment may have been killed over a drug deal, police said Friday. Brian Thomas Caufield, 31, used his apartment to sell marijuana and the three men suspected of killing him Thursday posed as potential customers, police said. He worked as a disc-jockey.

Authorities are looking for three men they say pretended to be police officers to pull off a home-invasion robbery in Sherman Oaks.

LAPD investigators were at the scene on 5100 block of Woodman Avenue near Magnolia Boulevard much of the day Friday, with yellow police tape surrounding an entire apartment complex.

Residents were still trying to come to terms with the shocking violence.

"When I got to my apartment, I had to be let in by police officer," said neighbor David Dye.

Police responded to the Regency Gardens Apartments around 6 p.m. Thursday. When officers arrived they found a man shot dead in his third-floor apartment and another man injured.

"The call did come out that the suspects were possibly impersonating an officer," LAPD Capt. Kelly Mulldorfer told reporters at the scene.

It appears there was a struggle and the suspects forced their way in. Detectives believe it was a home-invasion robbery, but it's unclear if the men took anything from the apartment.

Once inside the apartment at the Regency Gardens Apartments in the 5100 block of Woodman Avenue, near Magnolia Boulevard, at least two suspects pretended to be police officers and began taking drugs and cash, police said.

One suspect handcuffed Caufield's roommate and took the roommate into another room.

Detectives said Friday that a key piece of evidence they were looking for is a backpack. No description of the backpack was given.

Neighbors are stunned something like this happened in their building.

"We're in a safe area. This is Sherman Oaks. This is not somewhere that I would be afraid, but it's like what is going on," said Ray Adams, a neighbor of the victim's. "All of a sudden we have a killer on the loose. I don't know, it just amazes me."

"It's terrifying. I have kids," said resident Erika Lopez. Lopez said she was worried about security. "They leave the door open so anyone can get in," she said.

Police are looking for two black males seen running out of the building following the shooting.

If you have any information regarding the case, you're urged to call the LAPD at (877) LAPD-24-7.

Eyewitness News Reporters Carlos Granda and Robert Holguin and City News Service contributed to this report.


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