Birthday Spat Triggers Sepulveda Eastway Shooting

LAX police made quick work of solving an early morning shooting on Sepulveda Eastway last Thursday that put a birthday boy in the hospital and landed his assailant in jail.

Initial news reports placed the 2:25 a.m. shooting at Melody Bar & Grill based on comments by police, but people affiliated with the bar have been reassuring customers that it happened on the street behind the bar almost an hour after last call.

Dan Campbell, who was working the door that night, said a group of maybe six girls and four guys in their 20s, 30s or 40s — some of them regulars — arrived at the bar at about 1:15 a.m. and ordered round of shots and beer to celebrate the birthday of one of the guys. They tried to place another order shortly after 1:30 p.m., but staff had stopped serving for the night and the group left without incident at 1:45 p.m. About 40 minutes later, workers cleaning up for the night heard a series of gunshots.

“I heard four gunshots — pow, pow, pow, pow — then four more,” said Campbell. “Obviously, we didn’t open the door. But minutes later, police were already here to talk to us.”

Campbell said police told him LAX officers just happened to be driving by when the gunman opened fire with a handgun, and were able to corner the fleeing shooter almost instantaneously.

According to LAPD Pacific Division officers, who assisted with the investigation, the victim received only one gunshot wound to the abdomen despite all the shots fired. His injuries were not life-threatening.

Campbell said the victim was the guy celebrating his birthday, the assailant was someone he hadn’t seen before, and that he saw several shell casings on the ground along Sepulveda Eastway. From discussions with police, he believes the dispute may have been related to “jealousy about one of the girls.”.

— Joe Piasecki and Gary Walker