The Los Angeles Police Department is searching for the shooter who killed three women and injured four others during a gathering in the affluent Beverly Crest neighborhood, north of Beverly Hills and near Benedict Canyon.
Friends and family of those killed in the gunfire over the weekend, two of whom were young mothers, took to social media to grieve their loss, as California sees its fourth mass shooting of the year — three happening within 44 hours of each other.
On Monday, Jan. 30, the Los Angeles County coroner identified the three women who were fatally shot on Saturday, Jan. 28, as Iyana Hutton, 33, of Chicago; Nenah Davis, 29, of Bolingbrook, Illinois, and Destiny Sims, 26, of Buckeye, Arizona, according to the New York Post.
Law enforcement is trying to determine if the victims were at the $3 million home to attend a party.
“It’s sad,” said resident Rachel David. “The girls were my age in that car. I could have been at the party to. It’s so sad and horrible.”
Sgt. Bruce Borihanh from the Los Angeles Police Department said, “We called it a gathering until we can interview some of the people that were here to determine exactly what kind of gathering it was.”
Police Sgt. Frank Preciado said the three were sitting inside a car when the shooter approached and shot at least seven people. Another detective on the case, Meghan Aguilar confirmed a search for the suspects and additional evidence surrounding the shooting is still to be gathered.
Sims, the mother of three, had recently moved to Arizona but was born and raised in Illinois, her mother, Donna Hancock, said in an interview with NBC 5 Chicago. Hancock, like the police, is baffled by her daughter’s connection to the “gathering” or the shooter, but she says she is shattered.
Reports say Davis is the other mother but have not been able to verify how many children she has. According to one of her friends on Facebook, Davis lost her father just three months ago.
Hutton’s mother told WLS-TV, her daughter was visiting L.A. with Davis, her best friend, to attend an album release party for a rapper. Hutton was reportedly an up-and-coming rap artist herself.
Also killed in Saturday’s attack is Hutton. A man claiming to be her father, Keith Hutton, took to social media to express his sadness over her murder, calling her his eldest daughter.
“I love you so much. I thank God for all the moments that you and I have shared,” Keith Hutton wrote.
There were others injured in the onslaught of gunfire, including three men and a woman. Two are listed in critical condition and two were listed in stable condition. AZFamily.com reported the shooting occurred at about 2:30 a.m. Two of the four victims were taken in an ambulance to hospitals close by, while two others arrived in private vehicles to emergency rooms.
The Los Angeles Times reports 30 shots were sprayed, noting authorities believe the attack was not random.
In fact, Capt. Jonathan Tippet, head of LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division, confirmed witnesses to the shooting and those who were in the home at the time of the melee all scattered before patrol cars arrived at the scene of the crime. Neighbors also told police officers they saw cars driving away from the house minutes before the shooting.
The area has become a popular destination for Airbnb and Vrbo rentals, ranging from $600 to $7,500 a night in the quiet Santa Monica Mountains neighborhood. One resident in the area, Joel Gilman, who purchased his home in 1971 for $58,000, told the Los Angeles Times he saw one listing on the same street where the shooting happened advertising the home as a rental for $100,000 a month.
Ironically, Gilman moved into the Benedict Canyon area three years after another mass killing. In 1969, this was the setting for the Manson “family” killings.
Bill Curtis, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 50 years told ABC 7 that the owners of the home where the shooting took place moved to Miami.
“We didn’t know if they sold it or not. However, we found it in the last couple of days that it was a one-year rental and whoever had rented it for a year was [subletting]it out,” he said. “It’s a problem because you don’t know who your neighbors are going to be for two days.”
There have been several major mass shootings in Southern California since the year started. On Saturday, Jan. 21, at least 11 people were killed and nine wounded at a Monterey Park dance hall during a Lunar New Year event. The same day, a “disgruntled worker” shot and killed seven co-workers and injured another in shootings at a pair of nurseries in Half Moon Bay, California.
On Monday, Jan. 23, one person was killed and seven people were injured at a video shoot in Oakland. According to CNN, the city’s acting police chief, Darren Allison, said about 50 people were at the filming when “gunfire broke out from multiple shooters in various directions.”
Allison says this incident was a “targeted shooting,” and his staff is now “looking into the possibility of a gang or group connection with this incident.”
“We can confirm that this was a gun battle where the victims were shot,” LAPD said in a statement. “We can confirm that this was not an active shooter situation or incident.”
“Investigators are interviewing additional occupants and witnesses of what happened here.That’s why we are somewhat limited on the information we are releasing at this time to keep the integrity of that investigation.”
California, a state with tough gun laws and usually low gun death rates, has experienced a big uptick in mass shootings since the beginning of the year. However, nationally, America continues to be one of the most violent nations in the world.
HealthData.org reports, “Among 64 high-income countries and territories, the United States stands out for its high levels of gun violence. The US ranks eighth out of 64 for homicides by firearm (age-adjusted).” This stat is in alignment with the 2022 number of mass shootings and deaths connected to them.
Last year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, for the third year in a row, over 600 mass shootings occurred in the country.