CRENSHAW DISTRICT, LOS ANGELES (KABC) --An officer-involved shooting killed a suspect in Leimert Park following a search that began at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza Thursday night.
A shooting was first reported on the 3700 block of West Santa Rosalia Drive near the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza at 7:09 p.m. LAPD said there was a report of shoplifting at the mall. Mall security guards allegedly stopped the suspect, and he allegedly pulled out a gun and shot at the guards.
Melissa Van Vactor told Eyewitness News she was shopping at T.J. Maxx when she heard the gunshots.
"We were on our way walking out and my son said, 'Mom, someone's shooting,' and when I looked out of the window I saw, you know, guys running and then I saw everyone starting to run, and then the store personnel started pushing everyone to the back of the store," Vactor said.
Security guards followed the suspect and alerted officers from the Los Angeles Police Department, according to LAPD Deputy Chief Bob Green.
The suspect search led to Leimert Park, south of the mall, where helmeted officers with a K-9 dog approached a detached garage of a residence near West Vernon and Victoria avenues.
Officers kicked in the door to the garage and the police dog entered. The dog was brought back outside and officers entered at about 8:25 p.m.
The LAPD confirmed an officer-involved shooting occurred during the suspect search. L.A. Fire Dept. personnel arrived shortly thereafter. A person covered by a sheet was wheeled out on a gurney by paramedics and was transported by ambulance to Cedars Sinai Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead, Green said.
No one at the shopping center was injured. Vactor said an army reserve officer and a federal first responder helped keep everyone calm.
"They did very good with actually keeping my son calm and another little girl calm and just talking to them and telling the store personnel to stay calm," she said. "I think we were all in awe."