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Suspect IDed in fatal restaurant shootings

April 9, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Police said a suspect has been identified in the multiple fatal shootings that took place in a Valley Village restaurant Saturday afternoon.In a news conference Friday afternoon, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and others announced they have identified and are searching for the suspect in an incident that left four dead and two injured. Three victims died at the scene. A fourth man died at a hospital. Two others were injured.

Police are searching for North Hollywood resident Nerses Arthur Galstyan, 28, who is believed to be in the Los Angeles area.

Multiple people congregated at the Hot Spot Caf? Mediterranean restaurant near the intersection of Riverside Drive and Colfax Avenue in Valley Village Saturday afternoon for a celebration.

Detectives say Galstyan was part of the group that gathered to honor a friend that had died in an accident a year prior.

Detectives say Galstyan had some kind of confrontation with the men at his table and opened fire.

The victims were acquaintances, all between the ages of 25 and 31. They were Harut Baburyan, 28; Sarkis Karadjian, 26; Vardan Tofalyan, 31; and Hayk Yegnanyan, 25.

Police said they were able to reconstruct the events through a "great deal of physical evidence" and witness interviews. Police used surveillance video from the restaurant to make a positive identification.

Galstyan remains at large. He is considered armed and dangerous. Police believe Galstyan is hiding with the assistance of family or acquaintances. The LAPD said Galstyan is a convicted felon.

"We're still working on this case," said LAPD Captain Kevin McClure. "We truly believe that he's still in the area, and we believe that he's probably being assisted by family members or people within his community."

"This is a dangerous person, extremely dangerous, and I am concerned about my police officers when they make contact with him," said Beck. "But this was not a random act. This is not something that people in the Valley or any other place have to worry about when they're eating in a restaurant. This was based on prior relationships and a current dispute."

Police said two search warrants were served Friday morning related to the investigation, one in Glendale and one in North Hollywood.

In a separate investigation, Galstyan was indicted by a federal grand jury Friday on a charge of trafficking firearms without a license.

The LAPD is seeking information related to the case. The LAPD can be reached at (877) LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247).

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