Authorities have released the name of a man who was shot to death near Ararat restaurant in Glendale on Saturday night, as the suspect behind the shooting remains at large.
Burbank resident Suren Tahmazyan, 48, died after a man approached him and another man in his 40s near the far west end of the restaurant and hookah lounge’s parking lot off of San Fernando Road and Ruberta Avenue and began to shoot, according to Sgt. Dan Suttles, a spokesman with the Glendale Police Department.
The shooter arrived on foot from the west and fled in the same direction from the scene in a vehicle that was then driven northbound on San Fernando Road, Suttles said.
The vehicle was described as a dark-colored SUV, possibly a Dodge, but it hasn’t been definitively confirmed.
The name of the man standing next to Tahmazyan, who was only grazed by a bullet, has not been released. Tahmazyan died at the scene.
Suttles added that it’s unknown why the two were shot, or what they were doing in the parking lot. Suttles said there has been no indication this was a gang-related shooting or an attempted robbery gone wrong.
After watching security footage provided by the restaurant, Suttles said the shooter, “looked purposeful.”
The valet parking lot was jam-packed with cars at the time of the shooting, with several people in the middle of the parking lot, Suttles said.
At first, Suttles said he was confused as to how so many witnesses could provide such a limited description of the event and the suspect. After watching the footage, he said, “a lot of people were standing around, but it happened very, very, very fast.” He estimated the shooting happened within three seconds.
“I watched [the witnesses’] heads for reactions,” Suttles said. “The guys all flinched and ducked … and then they all kind of relaxed and looked over. By the time they looked over, [the shooter] was gone.”
Those in the parking lot were separated from the crime by about two rows of cars, Suttles added.
According to Ararat’s owner, who asked to be identified only by his first name, David, the victims were not patrons of the restaurant, which remained open after the shooting.
A hedge partially obscures the view between Ararat’s back patio and the parking lot, and David said that neither he, nor the patrons sitting outside, witnessed the shooting or saw the suspect.
However, after hearing three gunshots, David went outside and saw the body on the ground.
“I immediately understood,” he said.
The five or so parties underway at Ararat continued, with many not even aware that a shooting had occurred just outside, the restaurant owner said.
Andre Babajaniyans, shopkeeper at Tobacco World, located in a complex kitty-corner from the restaurant, said Monday evening he had just heard about the shooting that day.
A man claiming to be the friend of one of the victims came into the shop and told Babajaniyans what happened, he said.
“It seemed like it just randomly happened,” Babajaniyans said.
It’s unclear what the relationship between Tahmazyan and the unnamed victim was. They were talking and standing close to each other at the scene of the crime, Suttles said.
An autopsy of Tahmazyan is pending, said Sarah Ardalani, a spokeswoman with the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.