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Flash mob event on Venice Beach boardwalk ends in shooting

April 18, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
One person was shot in the head and was in critical condition when gunfire broke out during a flash mob gathering in Venice Beach on Saturday.

The sound of gunfire on the Venice Beach boardwalk sent people scattering in every direction? One person was shot in the head and was in critical condition.

Tony Vera, who witnessed the incident, said when he first arrived he saw hundreds of people standing around as if waiting for something to happen

You could feel the tension. You could cut it with a knife," he said. "All of a sudden, I hear?six shots. It was like a movie. People running all over the place."

The incident apparently started as flash mob event organized partly through Twitter on Friday. Flash mob events are typically harmless. The crowd might dance, sing or have a pillow fight.

"When I looked at the profile of the people who were sending those tweets, they weren't from around here. They were inland. Then there started being a lot of gang language," said Alex Thompson from the neighborhood watch program Venice 311.

Thompson alerted the Los Angeles Police Department. She said officers responded quickly when the shooting started and that the crowd didn't appear shocked.

"It was kind of like, what they were waiting to happen happened," she said. "Their expectations had been met. Some of the people were running, but a lot of them were running backwards trying to check out what was going on."

Police have not released the name of the victim or the suspect.