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Police hunt for Northridge gunman

October 18, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A fight led to a deadly shooting in Northridge Sunday, when a 21-year-old man was mistaken for someone else and was shot dead. Investigators say that the victim was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. He's been identified as 21-year-old Patrick Schilling. He was in Northridge visiting his cousin when he was gunned down simply for no reason at all.

The shooting, which occurred in broad daylight, unfolded along White Oak and Lassen in Northridge, and it certainly was an unsettling sight for residents. They are very concerned about the violence that unfolded Sunday afternoon.

The intersection of White Oak and Lassen remains shut down while authorities investigate the motives behind the deadly shooting.

According to investigators,two groups of men got into an argument near a liquor store. One group left after seeing that the other group was armed. At the same time, the victim and his friends walked out of the liquor store. That's when police say the suspects took aim, believing that the victim and his friend were part of the initial confrontation.

The bullets flew through the middle of the street right next to an apartment building full of families. At least one bullet hit the building.

"Some dude in a Lexus or something started shooting at them, and one of them was able to run far enough, and one of my other friends turned around and seen the other one on the ground," said Lisa Evans, a friend of the victim.

Authorities say that the victim was shot several times, at least once in the neck.

"His cousin was there with him, so he tried to help him run away that way, but they caught up and ran him over and shot him again, specifically like three shots," said Stephanie Kim, a witness.

"The cousin grabbed him and tried to get him to the building next door. As they did, they ran him over, and he was pronounced dead at the door of the building next door," described Vikki Unger, a witness.

"I'm sick to my stomach," added Unger, "In this area, it's not okay. It's not okay in any area. The violence has to stop."

Police describe the getaway vehicle as a four-door late model silver or white Lexus or Honda carrying a vanity plate with a star on it. Detectives say that the vanity plate may be the key to catching those suspects.

"That's all we have. We don't have the numbers or the letter connected with it, and we're asking the public, if they saw a vehicle leaving this location southbound matching that description, to contact the Devonshire Police Station," said Capt. Davin Hanczuk of Los Angeles Police.

Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD's Devonshire division at (818) 832-0633.

Authorities are continuing to speak with witnesses and people who may have been part of that initial argument by the liquor store, but so far, there is no sign of the gunman. They also are looking into the motivation behind the shooting, and they're looking into the possibility that the suspects may have been gang members.

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