Hollywood got an unusual wake-up call Wednesday, when Los Angeles police officers swarmed the neighborhood in a predawn manhunt that ended with no sign of the man they were looking for.
A police helicopter buzzed over the apartments and houses along Franklin Avenue, circling in the cloudy sky. Officers used beat-up undercover vehicles to block off streets as SWAT teams scoured the neighborhood. The Gelson's parking lot became a makeshift command post.
Dozens of officers spent most of Wednesday looking for a man who was involved in what police described as a “confrontation” with an off-duty officer who ultimately opened fire. The man fled — it was unclear whether he was struck by the gunfire — launching an intense search that dragged into the afternoon.
About 10 hours later, after a serious-looking bloodhound named Sam also checked out the scene, police began packing up. The investigation would continue, they said, as detectives look for surveillance footage and re-interview witnesses to try to pinpoint where the man may have gone.
The officer was walking to the Red Line about 5:30 a.m., on his way to work, when he encountered the man near Franklin and Van Ness avenues, Sgt. Marlon Marrache told reporters.
Investigators were still trying to determine the details of that encounter and why the man was in the area, police said. Marrache said a handgun was found at the scene that investigators believe belonged to the man, but said it was unclear whether the man fired any rounds.
“While we're looking for him, the information is still being fleshed out,” Marrache said.
The officer was not injured, police said.
The man was believed to be between the ages of 18 and 25, Marrache said, and was last seen wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt.
Traffic was snarled in the area as confused drivers wove around the perimeter, which stretched between Franklin and Hollywood Boulevard and Van Ness and Gower Street. Many drivers who passed by police rolled down their car windows to ask the same question.
“What happened?” one woman asked as she pulled into a gas station off Beachwood Drive.
“There was an officer-involved shooting,” an officer replied.
Later in the day, an officer shouted across Franklin at a woman as she made her way up the steps of Cheremoya Avenue Elementary School. “Ma'am,” he said. “The school is closed. It's been closed all day.”
Those students were taken to a nearby middle school as a precaution, police said.
The LAPD's Robbery-Homicide Division — which typically handles high-profile or more complex cases — will head the search for the man, as well as investigate what he was doing in the neighborhood.
Another unit will investigate the shooting by the officer — which, like all shootings by LAPD officers, will be reviewed by the district attorney's office, the Police Commission and its inspector general.
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