Benedict Canyon stunned by shooting that left 3 dead, 4 injured

When Rachel David arrived at her home in Benedict Canyon early Saturday morning after a night out, she thought the rows of flashing police cars were part of a movie set, which is quite common in the area.

She quickly discovered that it was not a film set. Police say three people – women in their 20s or early 30s – were shot inside a car and four injured outside during a rally in the cul-de-sac quiet, which is nestled in a secluded neighborhood north of Beverly Hills. .

The shooting caps a deadly week in California. A gunman killed 11 people in a mass shooting in Monterey Park last weekend, and two days later another assailant killed seven people at two farms near Half Moon Bay.

“I’m waiting for my Ubers right on this corner,” David said Saturday morning, pointing to the intersection of Ellison and Arby drives, where there was a strip of yellow police tape. “Not anymore.”

On Saturday afternoon, investigators were still searching for a suspect or suspects and offered little information about what happened or who was involved, other than to say the attack – during which more than 30 shots were fired – was not random. Authorities towed a white Porsche SUV and a black Mazda SUV to the scene that had bullet holes on both sides of the car and in the passenger side window.

sergeant. Bruce Borihanh of the Los Angeles Police Department said the house was used for short-term rentals. Neighbors said the area had seen an influx of occupiers in recent years. Several homes are listed on Airbnb and Vrbo, ranging from $600 to $7,500 a night.

“We called it a rally, until we could interview some of the people who were here to determine exactly what type of rally it was,” Borihanh told reporters at the scene.

Capt. Jonathan Tippet, chief of the LAPD’s Robbery and Homicide Division, said witnesses to the shooting and people at the home left before police arrived. Neighbors reported seeing several cars drive away from the scene minutes after the shots were fired.

Many neighbors woke up to the sound of police helicopters circling overhead.

“Now you know why moms worry about their kids when they’re out late,” said David’s mother, who declined to be named.

“I just feel very bad,” she added, pointing with her cup of coffee to the blocked street where the bodies of the three victims were still in the car.

She and David live around the corner from the crime scene with David’s grandmother, who has lived in the house as the original owner since the 1960s. For decades, it was a quiet neighborhood of long-term residents. date. Over the past five years, as many of the original owners have passed away, many homes have been converted to rental properties, the women said.

“Literally, I don’t even lock my car at night, it’s so safe,” David said. “Even people who try to find our house can’t find it.”

An Ellison Drive resident who declined to be named said she also woke up to the police helicopters and assumed they were looking for suspects involving a lesser crime, possibly robbery . Then his phone rang a few hours later.

“My dog ​​walker woke me up at 6:30 a.m. and was like, ‘Oh my god, are you okay?'” the woman said. “Then I realized it was way more serious than someone having their jewelry stolen.”

She said several homes had recently undergone renovations and appeared to have been converted to short-term rentals.

“There are party houses up there,” she said. “I was always curious about what was going to happen up the hill.”

Frank Coraci, a director who has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years, said he occasionally rents out his house. He has had a tenant for eight months and now lives about 10 minutes away. When he heard about the shooting, he headed straight.

“It freaked us out, three people died. I could have walked my dog,” he said.

The cul-de-sac has been home to several famous occupants, Coraci said. A sleek, modern mansion across from the murder scene is often rented out for upscale parties, he said. House parties in rented homes were common during the COVID-19 lockdown, he said.

Benedict Canyon is a celebrity favorite because it feels quiet and secluded despite being a short drive from town, said Joel Gilman, a retired advertising executive who bought his home in 1971 to $58,000.

“It’s like being a million miles away, except the city and the valley are a five-minute drive away,” Gilman said.

While Benedict Canyon once had a rustic air — some residents rode horses through the streets when Gilman moved in — the neighborhood has been transformed by investors building 10,000-square-foot homes for sale or rent, he said. declared.

Gilman said he saw an ad for a house on the street where the shooting took place that had rent for $100,000 a month.

He didn’t hear anything Friday night, neither the sounds of a party nor gunshots. If there had been a party, the sound would have been amplified through the canyon, Gilman said.

He was shocked that the suspect(s) managed to escape, given the neighborhood’s dead ends and winding roads.

Benedict Canyon has been the scene of several high-profile murders over the years, including the 1969 Manson “family” murders and the 2000 murder of Susan Berman, who was shot in the back of the neck by her best friend, the estate agent Robert. Durst.

But “it’s really not typical,” said Samantha Anobile, a real estate agent, who lives down the street from the filming location.

A woman came out of her house on Ellison Drive on Saturday afternoon to pick up a food delivery. She said she had just moved into the house a day early. She said she heard no gunshots and woke up to police swarming the street.

She didn’t expect a shooting in her neighborhood – “I mean, in Beverly Hills?” — but she said she wasn’t particularly worried.

“I’m from New York,” she said.

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