One killed, two wounded in shooting at L.A. nightclub

Times Staff Writers

Joseph Cosina lived for his first car, a black 2008 Volkswagen GTI that he bought on his birthday in November.

Early Friday morning, he may have died for it too.

The 19-year-old South Gate resident had driven his car with three friends to downtown’s Crash Mansion nightclub at 1024 S. Grand Ave.

About closing time, a fight broke out inside the club, police said. Cosina and his friends were upstairs at the time and had no connection to the fight, said his father, Hector.


Security guards asked them to remain inside with the other patrons.

But a melee and then gunshots erupted in the parking lot, and Cosina somehow was able to leave the club. From the club’s balcony, his friends saw him running through the parking lot, perhaps to protect his car, his father said.

Cosina was shot in the heart. He was taken to California Hospital Medical Center, where he died about 2:30 a.m.

“He wasn’t in a gang, didn’t wear baggy pants. He didn’t have tattoos or a bald head,” his father said.

“He was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

His death was the first homicide this year in downtown Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Police Lt. Paul Vernon said the shooting did not appear to be gang-related.

It grew from an argument after a woman was stabbed in the arm inside the nightclub, Vernon said. The fight spread to the parking lot as the club was closing.

“One man with a gun fired several rounds toward at least three men,” Vernon said.

One man was shot in the stomach and another in the leg, Vernon said. They also were taken to California Hospital and were expected to recover. Their names were not released; police said they were in their 20s.

The woman who was stabbed was treated at the same hospital and released, he said.

“This kind of activity, especially on a Thursday night like this, is a little out of the ordinary given the ages of the people mostly involved here,” Vernon said, adding that most patrons appeared to be 18 to 20.

Officers interviewing witnesses said patrons under 21 appeared to have been drinking.

“We will be looking closely at the business practices here with our vice unit and the city attorney’s office,” Vernon said. “We’ve had other disturbances at this same location before it closed down under the name Grand Avenue Club.”

A Crash Mansion employee said the club would have no comment on the incident.

The night Cosina died was the first time he and his friends had gone to the club.

Cosina had graduated from Downey High School last year and was attending Cerritos Community College, studying business administration, his father said.

He worked part time as a waiter at Gloria’s Restaurant in Downey to pay for his car.

“It was his first car. We’d just bought it,” said his father, who helped him with the transaction.

In addition to his father, Joseph Cosina is survived by his mother, Norma, and two younger brothers.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the LAPD’s Central Homicide Unit at (213) 972-1254 or a 24-hour hotline, (877) 529-3855.