Written by Joseph Santiago
Entertainment Editor, Best Comedy Tickets
A man was shot and killed early today while standing in front of the Comedy Store in West Hollywood as more than 150 customers attended shows.
The man was standing with a group outside the comedy club at about 12:49 a.m. when a adult man wearing a hoodie showed up and opened fire, said Lt. Steve Jauch of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The victim, is a man in his 20s, was shot at least one time in the upper torso. He was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was not identified.
The Homicide Report: A story for every victim >>
The shooter was able to run away before police arrived The Comedy Store located at 8400 block of Sunset Boulevard, Jauch said. Witnesses told KTLA-TV that a minimum of six shots were fired.
LAPD Detectives are prepared to contact local businesses in the area to review surveillance footage.
The Comedy Store was hosting a “Roast Battle” while the shooting happened comedians including Bobby Lee from “Mad TV,” Ron White, Erik Griffin and Bret Ernst. The stand up comedians were performing up until the shots were fired.
Justin Martindale, 35, a stand up comedian, said he was a judging one of the two shows held that night when he heard several loud shots sounding like loud firecrackers.
“We kept the show going just because we weren’t sure what was going on,” Martindale said. “Then everyone started spilling into the upstairs room.”
The Security guards at the comedy club told customers that there has been a shooting downstairs, he said.
“Everyone is shaken up about it,” Martindale said. “It’s crazy, out of all places.”
Comics were now talking about whether the shows should continue Wednesday night, he said.
Comedian Mike Black, who was scheduled to go on at 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, said on Twitter that all comedians, staff and audience were OK.
Comedian Yoursie Thomas said poilice were releasing 10 people at a time from the venue’s parking lot.
Brother was shot right in front of the welcome mat at the Comedy Store. Hollywood,” he said via Instagram.
Comic Brandt Tobler said on his social media Facebook said the gunman opened fire on the victim 10 feet away from him.
“Just shot him in the middle of the Comedy Store patio,” he wrote. “I have never been that close to that kind of violence and it was something I will never forget. It was so scary and very sad. I guess you never know when you are going to die, but I am glad today was not my day.”
This is the first homicide reported in West Hollywood in the past 1 year, according to The Times Homicide Report.
City Councilman John Duran, has been a resident in the Sunset for a longtime, said he was awakened by a text message around 1 a.m. saying there had been a shooting. He was extremely shocked.
“It’s very rare that we have a homicide in the West Hollywood,” he said early Wednesday morning. The West Hollywood sheriff’s station have made security on the Sunset Strip a main importance for years because there is so much nightlife here, he said.
Inclusion to police patrols, private security guards patrol the Sunset Strip. The Comedy Store is located within the Sunset Strip Business Improvement District, where businesses pay yearly fees to fund the private security guards and street cleaning.
Because of the added security in West Hollywood, Duran said he thought it “was probably one of those acts of violence where the perpetrator and the victim had to know each other …. I don’t think it was random act of violence.”
A good stretch of Sunset Boulevard was closed for several hours as investigators collected evidence and spoked to eye witnesses.