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1 dead, several injured in shooting on party bus in Santa Monica; multiple gunmen sought

The incident began when several occupants of a party bus parked on Ocean Avenue exited the bus and got into an altercation with another group from another bus parked nearby, police said. A short time later, several armed suspects fired multiple times into one of the buses and fled the scene on foot.

A shooting on a party bus on Santa Monica's Ocean Avenue early Saturday left one person dead and three others injured, and authorities are still searching for multiple gunmen.

Officers responded to a report of shots fired about 1 a.m. on Ocean Avenue at Colorado Avenue, near the Santa Monica Pier, police said. One gunshot victim was found at the scene.

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The driver of the party bus drove the vehicle to the police station with three other gunshot victims on board, according to a police statement.

One person was treated at the scene, and three others were transported to a local hospital for treatment, police said. One unidentified female victim died from her injuries.

Two victims remain in the hospital in stable condition, police said.

Police investigate a party bus where multiple people were shot early Saturday near the Santa Monica Pier.
Police investigate a party bus where multiple people were shot early Saturday near the Santa Monica Pier. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The incident began when several occupants of a party bus parked on Ocean Avenue exited the bus and got into an altercation with another group from another bus parked nearby, police said. A short time later, several armed suspects fired multiple times into one of the buses and fled the scene on foot.

Police said they still are searching for two or three male suspects involved in the shooting.

The crime scene on Ocean Avenue was blocked off to traffic Saturday morning as tourists and residents streamed by. Many stared at the blockade of cruisers and personnel from the police department's forensics team as they prepared to depart the area.

Katya Montiel, 23, and Brandon Alcock, 24, of San Diego, stood nearby. They said they were shocked when they first learned about the shooting, but their initial reaction gave way to a more jaded response.

"Shootings are a casual thing now, which is sad," Montiel said.

Local resident Vince Downey, 54, said he saw the large police presence when he woke up around 4:30 a.m. Saturday to walk his two dogs.

"I was kind of surprised," he said. "We don't have shootings around here, lot of homeless but no shootings."

As he walked his dogs down Ocean Avenue Saturday he pointed to the bustling crowds of tourists and said the area always feels secure.

"I never feel unsafe," he said.

By noon, one of the party buses involved in the shooting was moved, and the busy street was opened to traffic again.

Witnesses said on social media they were stunned by the violence in the popular Southern California tourist spot overlooking the ocean. Some said they thought the gunfire was fireworks until they saw people lying on the ground.

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Police are seeking the public's assistance in locating witnesses or anyone in the area at the time of the shooting. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact Det. Leone (310) 458-8949; Det. Cooper (310) 458-8478; or the Santa Monica Police Department at (310) 458-8495.

(Raoul Rañoa)

UPDATES:

12:45 p.m.: This article was updated with new comments from a local resident.

12:20 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from Santa Monica tourists.

This article was originally published at 9:10 a.m.

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