LAPD says man shot in Hollywood was not wearing a costume

An eyewitness photo of a man who was shot at the Hollywood and Highland intersection by police on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014. (The man has been pixelated due to the graphic nature of the photo. This photo has also been cropped.)
An eyewitness photo of a man who was shot at the Hollywood and Highland intersection by police on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014. (The man has been pixelated due to the graphic nature of the photo. This photo has also been cropped.) Lisa Bregman

Los Angeles police say the man shot and killed by two officers in Hollywood on Friday wasn’t wearing a costume and was brandishing a real knife.

Two Los Angeles police officers shot and killed the man Friday evening around 7 p.m. at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue.

Witnesses had described him as street performer who often wore a costume based on the horror movie “Scream” and used a plastic knife to scare people for tips and photos.

But Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson Andrew Smith said the man police shot was not wearing a costume.

“Nothing in our investigation so far has indicated that,” he said. Smith said the man had some bags of clothing that investigators still need to go through.

Authorities haven’t released the name of the man. A spokesperson for the L.A. County Coroner’s office said they are still tracking down the next of kin but described him as a 42-year-old white man.

Police got a call on Friday just before 7 p.m. about an assault with a deadly weapon, according to Smith. He said the initial report indicated that it was two transients fighting.

Police weren’t able to find any victims who were cut by a knife, said Capt. Peter Zarcone of LAPD’s Hollywood division on Saturday. But he said they had witnesses say the man was swinging a knife and people were backing away from him.

There have been very few details released about what led up to the shooting. Los Angeles police did post a picture on the social media site Twitter of a folding knife that they say the man was holding.  It's unusual for police to tweet pictures of evidence in such cases.

https://twitter.com/LAPDHQ/status/541124086374473728

Smith said department noticed discussion on social media after the shooting that suggested that police had shot an unarmed man.

“We wanted to put out the facts instead of just letting the misinformation get out of hand,” he said in an email.

The shooting happened on a very busy Friday night on Hollywood Boulevard, a prime destination for Los Angeles tourists.

Leron Gubler is president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. He said he trusts that the LAPD used their best judgment.

“These officers are trained,” he said. "They are aware that they are in a tourist district and their main goal is to protect the public safety.”

Investigators should have plenty of video of the shooting to review.  Hollywood Boulevard has several surveillance cameras on light poles and buildings with at least two of them near the intersection where the shooting occurred.

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