CULVER CITY (CBSLA) — Police are searching for a pair of men who were caught on security video opening fire on a homeless encampment near Venice, an area trying to deal with the growing homeless population.
In the video, a gray Honda Accord can be seen pulling up to the encampment near Venice and Sepulveda boulevards. A man gets out and opens fire before a second man approaches the tents. They both retreat after the man fires the gun, and they flee.
The ambush is the latest in what L.A. residents say is a growing trend of violence in transient enclaves and their surrounding areas.
“We’ve become victims here,” resident Crystal Chen told CBS2 News. “Just stay for two minutes. You could see a drug transaction, prostitution.”
“I’ve definitely found needles thrown over our fence a bunch. I’ve come home with people definitely passed out on drugs,” said another resident.
L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents the area, says he and his office are working with outreach teams and the LAPD to address the crime, but residents point to the latest incident as proof the encampment is dangerous.
“Obviously, this is very much a mental health issue that’s going on that the city is not providing for, but […] besides that, it’s becoming a safety issue for everyone around here,” complained the man.
Bonin faced angry Venice residents last month opposed to the city’s proposed temporary housing complex for the homeless in an old Metro bus lot.
“We’re all hardworking taxpayers,” echoed Chen. “The property values go down, the kids cannot even go outside to walk outside. I’m afraid.”
The man who was shot in the encampment reportedly walked to a nearby convenience store to meet police and was taken to a hospital. The gunmen remain at large.
In May, residents in L.A.’s Fairfax District brought up similar concerns after a fight near Poinsettia Park was caught on tape.