Police are looking for two people who shot and killed a man at a cannabis dispensary above a synagogue on a busy stretch of Ventura Boulevard in Tarzana, officials said.
The gunmen opened fire around 12:30 pm Saturday inside the dispensary, firing more shots in an alley behind the store, then fled on foot, leaving the victim and terrified Shul synagogue members behind.
Police did not identify the victim, but Maria Harris told KTLA that he was her son, Brian Garcia. “That was my firstborn,” she told the network. “I don’t understand why God took him from me. I don’t know what I’m going to do next.”
Some media reports said the shooting happened during a robbery, but Los Angeles Police spokesman Jeff Lee said on Sunday he did not know why.
Rabbi Yossi Malka of Shul described a chaotic and terrifying scene.
He said the services had ended but there were still around 30 worshipers, including several children, in and around the synagogue when gunshots were heard.
“We heard lots and lots of gunshots,” Malka said. He ran outside to make sure all the children were found and to get them to safety, and said he saw a woman screaming, “You killed my son. You killed my son.”
Moments later, police cars and a helicopter converged on the scene. He led his congregants inside until they were told it was safe to leave.
Malka said the dispensary recently opened in a store high above the synagogue. He said he did not know his name, and the police did not provide it.
Malka also said there were gunshots both inside the dispensary and in an alley behind it. “Up there they killed somebody,” he said, “and down there they were just shooting.”
He said the woman who identified herself as the victim’s mother stood outside the dispensary most of the day and night with candles, keeping vigil at the site of her son’s death.