In what appears to have been a freak car-to-car shooting at 2:35 a.m. this morning, 55-year-old Rolling Hills resident Ivan Spencer was fatally hit by a bullet while changing freeways from the 101 South to the 91 East.
City News Service reports that Spencer managed to call 911 after crashing his Toyota Prius into the center divider, telling police he had been shot. Then the line went silent.
Upon arrival to the scene, CHP officers found the man dead in his car with a gunshot wound to his neck.
The Long Beach Press-Telegram reports that Spencer lived in a gated community on Saddleback Road with 61-year-old Samantha Sanson, who owns a Gardena strip club called Starz (along with two other clubs in the South Bay). The Press-Telegram unearths another shooting tied to Starz seven years ago:
Anthony Nicholson, 31, was a regular at the club, which caters to black men. Known as “Black Tone,” the father of three went out with friends to celebrate his 8-year-old son's birthday. The son lived with his mother in Texas.
Police said Nicholson got into a fight with other men at the club on Oct. 26, 2004.
A short time later, as Nicholson drove away, the gunmen pulled alongside his pickup at Rosecrans and Normandie avenues and fired several bullets into the vehicle.
Although wounded several times, Nicholson sped away. The gunmen gave chase, continuing to shoot at him. Nicholson crashed into a wall at Redondo Beach Boulevard and died two days later.
However, Spencer's friends seem to think the murder was unprovoked. An L.A. man named Fred Rutherford posted the following tribute on his Facebook wall this afternoon:
“r.i.p to a great guy and a friend ivan spencer “rock” who was shot down on the freeway last night for no reason you will truly be missed and always remembered much love to his family”
Spencer's death is essentially an L.A. driver's worst nightmare: Back in the late 1990s, a string of random, creepy freeway shootings threw the media into a frenzy and had traffic-jams full of paranoid L.A. commuters on pins and needles.