Man killed on Skid Row near LAPD station

LOS ANGELES Around 12:45 a.m. Monday, witnesses reported hearing at least one gunshot just west of the police station on Maple Street. According to witnesses, an argument between two men on the sidewalk may have preceded the shooting.

Police found a 35-year-old man dead on the sidewalk, shot at least one time. Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene.

The shooting occurred across the street from the Los Angeles Police Department's Central Station, on Maple Ave. between 5th and 6th streets.

"At first look, it appears the victim was the intended target," said /*LAPD*/ Lt. Paul Vernon, who is in charge of detectives for downtown. "The victim did not live or sleep on Skid Row."

The 35-year-old man was shot once in the head. According to the LAPD, he was recently paroled from prison.

"Based on the victim's background, he's recently released on parole for a narcotics conviction and has a very extensive record from that. We suspect that there's probably some kind of narcotics dispute involved here on the street," said Vernon.

Detectives went through trash bins looking for anything connected to Monday morning's shooting.

It's the third shooting in downtown L.A. since May. The last one was caught on tape on the 4th of July, as a hooded suspect opened fire and a 19-year-old victim was seriously injured. He is expected to survive.

On any given night, this part of Maple next to the police station is lined with tents. People feel safe here, spending the night on the sidewalk. What happened Monday morning doesn't do much to change all of that.

Asked if she felt safer staying across the street from a police station, Kim Miles said "Yes. For me. Because we've got 24-hour security."

A man who didn't want to be identified works near the site of the shooting. "I think for the homeless, they're pretty used to being out here and accept the fact that a lot of crimes on the street, quite a few assaults that occur, and so by and large they feel safe, as safe as one can feel in this environment."

Police would rather that the homeless would a place to sleep at one of the shelters downtown.

"We'd rather see people go sleep in the shelters. More and more people do that. The population of Skid Row over the last six years, on the street, sleeping overnight, is half of what it used to be," said Vernon. "And because of that, crime is down 40 percent."

If you have information related to Monday morning's murder, you're asked to call the Los Angeles Police Dept. at (877) LAPD-24-7, or call LAPD Detective Patricia Hauck at the Central Homicide Unit at (213) 842-0727.

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