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Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Armenian gangs blamed for “bloodbath” at L.A. restaurant
NORTH HOLLYWOOD (Latimes.com) -- Police suspect Armenian gangsters are responsible for the assassination-style attack that killed four men and wounded two others inside a North Hollywood cafe.
The suspect was believed to be a man of Armenian descent, about 30 years old, according to media reports about eyewitnesses who spoke to police.
Saturday's mass shooting, described by police as a 'blood bath,' occurred about 04:30 P.M. in the Hot Spot Cafe, 11651 Riverside Drive.
Police said the victims appeared to have been targeted and that the shooting may be related to Armenian gangs.
Three men died at the cafe, and a fourth died at a hospital. Two other victims were hospitalized, and they are both expected to live.
The dead men were identified by Los Angeles police as Harut Baburyan, 28, Sarkis Karadjian, 26, Vardan Tofalyan, 31, and Hayk Yegnanyan, 25.
It was not clear if the men knew each other and police at the North Hollywood station referred calls to LAPD Robbery-Homicide detectives, who handle major crimes and multiple-victim homicides.
Community leaders in the Valley Village area, which borders the section of North Hollywood and Studio City where the massacre occurred, worked to get out their message out on Sunday that the area “remains one of the safest in Los Angeles,” in the words of the president of the neighborhood council.
The group said it learned that Los Angeles police were working with officers in predominately-Armenian Glendale “to apprehend the suspects.”
But police were not saying if the bloodshed Saturday was linked to the gang-style killing of a woman in the Little Armenia section of Hollywood eight days earlier.
Robbery-Homicide continues their murder investigation of Karyn Safaryan at her modest apartment in the Little Armenia section of Hollywood.
Karyn Safaryan was found shot to death, her throat slashed, in an apartment parking area about five miles across Cahuenga Pass from this weekend's apparent gang attack.
Her slaying may have been a follow up to the murder of Safaryan's husband and daughter in Hollywood in 2008.
Police have not said that the Safrayan murders are related to this weekend's shootings at the Hot Spot Cafe, but police have said both investigations are in their early stages.
Police set up a mobile command post near Saturday's restaurant shooting and closed a stretch of Riverside Drive over the weekend. About 3:30 a.m. Sunday, a tow truck took away a late model, white Toyota sedan that had blood splattered across the rear, passenger-side quarter-panel.
Detectives at the scene declined to go on record about the investigation.
But one officer told a City News Service reporter the scene inside the restaurant was “a bloody massacre.”
One nearby resident who heard the gunfire told the Daily News he often saw men in suits smoking in front of the restaurant.
“The place is shady,” Matt Edwards told the newspaper. “It opened five years ago and it's always closed and empty.”
Over the last few years, there have been several businesses at the location where the murders occurred, including a used blue jeans store.