Officers responded to a report of a man firing shots in the air near the intersection of 7th and Mateo streets just after 5 p.m.
Carrie Kravetz was about to drive out of her parking garage when she saw a man on his knees holding a gun in the middle of Mateo Street.
"I felt like my life was at risk," Kravetz said.
Kravetz took a picture of the suspect, about 15 feet away, seconds before police opened fire near the intersection of 6th and Mateo streets.
"And the security guard was like, 'You need to back up,' and it kind of like took me a second, and I backed up, and as I was backing up into my garage, I heard some gunshots -- two gunshots," Kravetz said.
Some employees at Church & State restaurant, located at 850 Industrial Street, saw the suspect firing his gun in the air. Other witnesses tweeted he tried to carjack someone.
"Officers responded to the location. They did observe a male with a handgun, and he was firing that gun," said LAPD Sgt. Preciado. "Officers did order the suspect to drop the gun. The suspect refused to drop that gun and an officer-involved shooting occurred."
The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene. No officers were injured.
Police evacuated the immediate area and shut down traffic on nearby streets, including Sixth Street Bridge. Motorists and pedestrians were urged to avoid the area.
It's unknown whether the suspect was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or what set him off.
"I was really scared. I've never been that close to a gun. Whatever the police did was what I'm sure they had to do because he was crazy," Kravetz said. "He could have injured tons and tons of people."
The suspect's name has not been released. Police were interviewing witnesses. Anyone with information was urged to contact the Los Angeles Police Department.