Police are searching 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, authorities said.
The gunmen opened fire about 12:30 p.m. Saturday inside the dispensary, letting off more shots in an alley behind the store, then fled on foot, leaving behind the victim and terrified members of the Shul synagogue.
Police did not identify the victim, but Maria Harris told KTLA that he was her son, Brian Garcia. “That was my firstborn baby,” she told the station. “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 LAPD spokesperson Jeff Lee said Sunday that he knew of no motive.
Rabbi Yossi Malka of the Shul described a chaotic and terrifying scene.
He said services had ended but there were still about 30 congregants, including numerous children, in and around the synagogue when shots rang out.
“We heard lots and lots of shooting,” Malka said. He ran outside to make sure all the children were accounted for and get them to safety, and said he saw a woman yelling, “You killed my kid. You killed my kid.”
Moments later, police cars and a helicopter converged on the scene. He ushered his congregants inside until told it was safe to leave.
Malka said the dispensary had recently opened in a storefront directly above the synagogue. He said he did not know its name, and police did not provide it.
Malka also said there were shots fired both inside the dispensary and in an alley behind it. “Upstairs they killed somebody,” he said, “and downstairs outside they were just shooting.”
He said the woman who identified herself as the victim’s mother sat outside the dispensary most of the day and evening with candles, keeping vigil at the site of her son’s death.