When the Standard hotel opened in downtown Los Angeles in 2002, it signaled a trend that has revamped the city center: youthful sophistication with a touch of glamour.
Taking up the former headquarters of Superior Oil, the hotel — now one of five in a boutique chain founded by Andre Balazs — was transformed with a popular rooftop bar and a lobby decked out in magenta couches.
But early Sunday morning, the modernist 12-story hotel at Flower and 6th streets had become the scene of a fatal shooting and perhaps the latest case in a crime uptick that is sweeping through downtown.
Shortly before 2:30 a.m., gunfire erupted by the hotel entrance and struck four people, according to Officer Rosario Herrera of the Los Angeles Police Department. All four were taken to the hospital, where one person was pronounced dead. As of Sunday night, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office had not yet identified the person who was killed.
No arrests have been made, and no suspects were publicly identified by police. Although authorities did not comment publicly on a motive, witnesses said things got out of hand after an apparent argument about some people being kept out of a party.
“We dropped to the floor,” he said, noting that he heard about three rounds fired. He and the friends later fled through the hotel’s rear lobby, where guests drop off their cars with valet attendants.
The trio exited the hotel and ran toward its entrance on Flower Street, inadvertently finding the tail end of the shooting, which had spilled out of the hotel onto the sidewalk. “We hit ground again,” the man said. “Everything was like a blur.”
The gunman fled the scene.
One of the victims lay outside the hotel, near a glass door that had shattered, a witness said. Hotel employees said at least two of the victims were found by the elevators.
An employee, who did not want to be identified because he was not allowed to speak to media, said a parking attendant found a handgun about 9 a.m. Sunday in a parking lot nearby.
Guests who had fled the hotel for safety had difficulty returning. Two guests, who declined to be identified, said they did not return to their rooms until after 5 a.m. Hotel staff told the guests they would not be charged for the night.
In a company statement, Standard International Management said it is cooperating with law enforcement. “We are shocked and outraged by the act of violence,” the company said, adding that the shooting was “the latest example of increasing street crime and gun violence in Los Angeles.”
Overall, violent crime in the LAPD’s Central Division, which covers parts of downtown, skid row and Chinatown, was up more than 55% through Nov. 21 compared with the same period last year.
To stem the rising crime, the LAPD has added more police officers to the area, including from the department’s elite Metropolitan Division.
Times staff writer Emily Alpert-Reyes contributed to this report.