Law enforcement authorities identified an "armed and very dangerous" suspect today in a shooting at a North Hollywood restaurant that left four people dead, and they asked for the public's help finding him.
Nerses Arthur Galstyan, 28, who has not been arrested, is believed to be the man who opened fire inside the Hot Spot Cafe, 11651 Riverside Drive, around 4:30 p.m. Saturday, police said.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck described Galstyan, an Armenian national whose residence is North Hollywood, as "very dangerous.''
Nerses Arthur Galstyan, 28, has been identified by the LAPD as the suspect alleged to have shot and killed four men at a North Hollywood cafe.
According to Los Angeles police, Galstyan was at the Valley Village restaurant attending a party in memory of an acquaintance who had died in an accident a year earlier.
During that celebration, Galstyan "became involved in a dispute with several men at the celebration and in anger fired multiple rounds, hitting and killing four of them,'' Beck said.
Three men died at the cafe, and a fourth died at a hospital. Two other people were injured, but survived.
The dead men were identified by Los Angeles police as Harut Baburyan, 28, Sarkis Karadjian, 26, Vardan Tofalyan, 31, and Hayk Yegnanyan, 25.
Police said Galstyan was seen on surveillance video inside the restaurant.
"This was a crime among people who knew each other,'' said L.A. City Councilman Paul Krekorian, who represents Valley Village.
Search warrants were served today on locations linked to the suspect in North Hollywood and Glendale, said Kevin McClure, captain of the LAPD's Robbery-Homicide division.
McClure said police had "a great deal of physical evidence'' linking Galstyan to the murders and believe he is still in the area and is being assisted to avoid capture.
Police initially said the victims appeared to have been targeted and that the shooting may have been related to Armenian gangs, but they said today the shooting was apparently just a dispute that erupted at a party.
Police declined to comment on whether Galstyan had a criminal record or links to gangs or organized crime.
McClure said no state charges had yet been filed in the case, but Galstyan was indicted this morning by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles on weapons charges.
The three-count indictment — the result of an ongoing federal investigation — charges him with conspiracy, engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, said U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte.
According to the indictment, Galstyan allegedly met with a confidential informant on Sept. 2 and sold two .223-caliber semiautomatic rifles with obliterated serial numbers, along with two high-capacity magazines, for $3,600.
Galstyan also allegedly told the informant he could sell HK rifles with 8-inch barrels for $3,000 each, and that he routinely had AK weapons for sale, according to the indictment.
Each of the three counts carries a five-year federal prison sentence, Birotte said.
Galstyan remained at large and police said he should be considered "armed and very dangerous.''