Detectives late Tuesday were investigating the death of a woman whose body was found in an apartment in a normally quiet residential neighborhood in Lakewood.
The incident was reported around 6:30 p.m. in the 4100 block of Maybank Avenue, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.
Detectives were gathering evidence inside the two-story building. Outside, the area was cordoned off with yellow crime tape on the block of two-story apartment buildings nestled behind the Heritage Family Pantry, a popular local diner, near Paramount Boulevard and Carson Street.
The Sheriff's Department said in a statement that detectives were investigating a shooting death.
But Lt. Steve Jauch said at the scene that he could not confirm how the woman died. He said the woman's body was found by a relative, who called authorities.
"We won't know more until we do a more thorough investigation," Jauch told The Times. "It's going to be a long night."
Residents described the neighborhood as a safe place and said they were surprised to hear sirens as deputies and firefighters responded to the scene.
"This is a quiet neighborhood," said Mike Ellis, 42, who lives in the apartment building next door. He said the area has experienced some minor break-ins "but nothing that would lead to all of this."
"I came out to have a smoke like I usually do," he said, "and I saw all these cop cars."
Kenny Battle, 29, who has lived in the neighborhood for three years, said he heard the sirens.
"Stuff like this don't happen around here," Battle said. "It's scary."
Since January 2007, at least five homicides have been reported in Lakewood, according to The Times Homicide Report.