A vigil for 19-year-old Andre Lowe, fatally shot outside Hollywood's Empire Club last weekend, was scheduled for 5:30 tonight.
Organizers state that he was not a gang member and had just passed a state test to become a licensed security guard. Police told the Weekly that suspect, Robert Earl Thomas, is a member of the Carver Park Compton Crips, a set from southeast L.A. county, and that they believe the attack was “gang-related:”
The 22-year-old suspect, arrested in Las Vegas Wednesday, was awaiting extradition back to California, police said.
Cops think Thomas pulled the trigger early Sunday after fighting from inside the club spread to the street and an adjacent parking lot. The violence, which erupted shortly after 2 a.m. outside the spot at 1716 N. Cahuenga Blvd., was caught on video.
A source told us that a police officer stationed outside an adjacent club's lot witnessed the violence, drew his weapon, and took cover but did little else.
The LAPD, however, tells us that the witness was in fact a private security guard hired by a neighboring venue; those guards look like cops, wear uniforms and ride police-like motorcycles.
Police told us that the guard had been interviewed as part of the homicide investigation.
Meanwhile we looked up the Empire Club's California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control record.
It was cited late last year for serving or storing “adulterated bottles” of alcohol. ABC spokesman John Carr told the Weekly that the venue would be fined as a result.
The club has an “On Sale General Eating Place” license, which means it is required to offer food with a menu; it has to have an on-site kitchen. We could find no references to a menu for the place.
The L.A. County Department of Public Health, however, does recognize it as a restaurant and has inspected the premises.
Lowe, the victim, was described as a young man with dreams. Organizers of the vigil stated:
A 2011 graduate of Etiwanda High School, he lived in South Los Angeles with his father and was not affiliated with a gang. The 19-year-old had just recently passed the test to receive his security guard card and was looking forward to getting his first job.
The vigil happens outside the club at 1716 N. Cahuenga Blvd.