A young man was killed in a shooting outside the Standard Hotel, and it's Los Angeles' fault.
Or, rather, it's the fault of the city's spike in crime of late, the hotel suggested in a statement.
“We are shocked and outraged by the act of violence that took place this morning outside of our hotel in downtown Los Angeles,” Standard International Management said in a statement. “The Standard Hotels’ high level integrity team is already assisting and cooperating with law enforcement in response to this incident which is the latest example of increasing street crime and gun violence in Los Angeles. Our deepest sympathy goes to all those affected by this shooting.”
Police, however, say an altercation that led to the shooting outside the venue's street entrance in the 500 block of Flower Street started inside the Standard early Sunday.
“It started inside the hotel, an argument ensued, and it went outside,” Los Angeles Police Officer Mike Lopez told us.
An LAPD Central Division watch commander concurred, telling us the altercation started “in the hotel … at the [hotel's] club or whatever.” Glass doors at the hotels entrance were shattered.
The deceased was identified by Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief Ed Winter as Thomas Johnson, who was to celebrate his 22nd birthday Dec. 28. His hometown was unknown, and next-of-kin was out-of-state, Winter told us.
Three others shot outside the hotel were hospitalized in stable condition, authorities said.
It happened at 2:20 a.m. Sunday, police said. “Four victims were struck by gunfire,” Officer Rosario Herrera told us.
It appeared that one victim was found a few blocks away, at Olympic Boulevard and Hill Street, where paramedics responded to a shooting patient at 2:21 a.m., the Los Angeles Fire Department reported.
The shooter was on-the-loose, but security video of the attack was distributed by the LAPD with the hope that someone might recognize him and turn him in.
A shooter had been to the rooftop bar before it closed, police said. A suspect chased one victim around to the back of the building in order to open fire, they said.
Now, more on that Los Angeles crime increase.
By the middle of the year major crime, from car theft to murder, was up 12.7 percent. In the LAPD's Central Division, which covers the boutique hotel's neighborhood, crime was up nearly 18 percent.
However, many major cities in the United States have seen similar increases, leading experts to believe that whatever is happening is happening on a national level. In other words, there might not be much unique about it here, and local leadership might have limited options in fighting it.
Also, it's important to keep in mind that even with such increases, crime in Los Angeles is still at the bottom of a valley, in the long view. “We're on track to have the lowest homicide rate the city's had in modern history,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said in summer.
“This is still a championship team that is winning the pennant,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said at the time. “But we're winning it maybe by a few less games.”
Is that kind of crime worthy of blame in this instance?
A spokeswoman for the hotel took exception with the way we took exception with the Standard's placing of blame on L.A. crime.
“Blaming this event on Los Angeles is a very narrow and micro analytic view of why street crime and gun violence has increased and this is absolutely not the approach that Standard International has in this statement,” she said.
Meanwhile, the relationship between alcohol and crime is well known, and the Standard is a notorious party venue. The violence broke out not long after last call.
That said, the hotel has never been known as a magnet for riffraff. The truth is that bad things happen in big cities sometimes.
No need to blame a town that is trying, and trying hard, to prevent this kind of thing from happening.