Los Angeles police arrested on Sunday two suspects in connection with a shooting that left three people dead and 12 wounded at a restaurant operating out of a converted home.
Mowayne McKay, 33, and Diego Reid, 25, both of whom are Jamaican nationals, were taken into custody early Sunday, police said. They were expected to be booked for investigation of murder. An unspecified dispute between a man and at least two other men led to gunfire early Saturday during a birthday celebration attended by about 50 people in a house that hosts parties for people in the Jamaican community.
Investigators believe that once the man was shot, several other shots were fired indiscriminately in the crowd. Some of the shots appeared to be return fire from other party-goers in the direction of the shooters who fled the scene
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Detectives believe McKay and Reid opened fire after the initial shooting, and that the gunfire from the two men and possibly others left two more men dead and others wounded. Police Capt. Peter Whittingham told the Los Angeles Times that evidence, including video footage, led police to McKay and Reid, who were found and detained at hospitals in the area, where they had sought treatment for gunshot wounds.
Police were still working to identify the deceased. The wounded sustained minor to critical injuries. One of them remained hospitalized in extremely critical condition on Sunday.
The restaurant owner told the Los Angeles Times he runs a Jamaican catering business out of the house and was hosting a birthday party when the shooting broke out. A man who had gone to the house to ask that a car be moved from his brother’s driveway told the newspaper there were dozens of people in the house and yard and that a DJ was playing music.
Shortly after they left, Paul Elen said he heard 15 to 20 shots.
“My brother thought it was fireworks,” Elen said. “I said, ‘No, ain’t no smoke in there. Them ain’t fireworks, them gunshots.’ ”
Police who arrived at the scene in a working-class neighborhood dotted by tall palm trees found shell casings and blood throughout the house west of downtown Los Angeles. Blair Hamilton, 58, who lives a block from the shooting, told the Times that when he came out of his house, he saw an older woman with a bloodied face, sitting on a curb next to two other women, one of whom also appeared to be injured. A girl lay on the curb, attended by another girl.
Some of the wounded were taken by ambulance to hospitals. Others drove themselves, authorities said. Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement that he was confident police would unravel questions surrounding the shooting. He expressed sympathy for victims’ families.