A Venice boardwalk hotel owner was behind bars this week after he was charged with murdering a homeless man who sleeps outside his inn.
Witnesses said a dispute erupted early Sunday over homeless people sleeping near the entrance to the Cadillac Hotel. Someone opened fire, and one man was dead and another was injured.
The shooting could represent the detonation of long-simmering tensions in the otherwise liberal beach-side community over its intractable and some say growing population of street people.
The Cliffs Notes version of events pits moneyed newcomers against the neighborhood's tradition of sharing and caring, but there are plenty of old timers, such as the Venice Stakeholders Association's Mark Ryavec, who are long fed up with aggressive panhandlers, quick-to-fight transients, and a wave of young homeless from the Pacific Northwest.
At the same time, the nature of Venice is changing from liberal enclave to boutique haven.
Multiple news outlets, including CBS Los Angeles, cited witnesses who said Cadillac Hotel owner Sris Sinnathamby did not actually pull the trigger — that he allegedly asked someone else to do it.
That someone could still be on the loose. If so, police aren't saying.
Sinnathamby, 54, pleaded not guilty to the murder allegation yesterday. He remains behind bars in lieu of $5 million bail.
Cops say the shootings happened about 2 a.m. Sunday. According to a Los Angeles Police Department statement:
Officers arrived and found a 26-year-old male, Jascent Warren, of Los Angeles, down on the boardwalk. Mr. Warren was not breathing and was nonresponsive.
The District Attorney's office filed its case against Sinnathamby yesterday.
It's a sad situation. Some witnesses said the defendant was otherwise helpful toward the homeless near the hotel, at Ocean Front Walk and Dudley Avenue.
A witness Ross told Fox 11 News the shooter pulled a gun and told homeless people sleeping on the boardwalk to leave. When they didn't, he opened fire, the man said.
Sinnathamby was scheduled to be back in court Oct. 14.