Police Arrest Man in Christmas Shooting

Times Staff Writer

A 20-year-old gas station cashier has been arrested in a Christmas Day shooting in Westwood Village that left a bystander in grave condition, Los Angeles police said Friday.

Rafael Martirosyan was arrested at his Hollywood apartment Tuesday morning in connection with the shooting of Fouad Salik, 36, who was wounded as he ate with friends at the Habibi Cafe in the 900 block of Broxton Avenue.

Martirosyan was charged with attempted murder and is being held on $1-million bail. If he is convicted, he could receive up to 25 years to life in prison.

At a news conference, Det. Ron Phillips praised the cooperation of dozens of patrons and bystanders but singled out the cafe’s owner, who Phillips said was instrumental in Martirosyan’s arrest.

Salik, a native of Morocco who came to Los Angeles and built a successful travel agency, was having dinner with friends at the cafe about 1:30 a.m. Sunday when a shoving match between two groups of men escalated into gunfire.


Friends told the victim’s brother that when a gunshot shattered a nearby window, they thought Salik had escaped injury by diving under the table.

“His friends thought he was covering himself,” Khalib Salik said. “But he passed out. There was blood on his pants.”

Fouad Salik, who was to be married this spring in Morocco, remains in grave condition at UCLA Medical Center. He can breathe only with the aid of a ventilator, and doctors have told the family that even if he recovers, he could be paralyzed on his left side, his brother said.

“I just pray for my brother,” Khalib Salik said. “Whatever happens to [Martirosyan], I don’t care.”

Phillips said investigators were looking for two men who they believe were involved in the incident.

Anyone who has seen a gray Infiniti G 35 coupe in the Westwood neighborhood since the shooting is asked to call detectives at (310) 444-1519.