Standoff in Woodland Hills after report of shots at pro-Trump caravan


Tactical teams were trying to draw three men out of an apartment building in Woodland Hills on Sunday after Los Angeles police received reports that one of them may have fired gunshots at a pro-Trump vehicle caravan.

No one was hurt at the rally, and police were still trying to determine exactly what happened.

Officer Will Cooper of the Los Angeles Police Department said officials received a report that a man was firing at the caravan as it traveled along Ventura Boulevard near Chalk Hill shortly before 11:30 a.m. The incident was initially described as someone brandishing a firearm and throwing bottles at the vehicles but was later updated to include a report of shots fired, he said.

The caravan, comprised of cars displaying pro-Trump flags, was heading from Woodland Hills to Studio City.

A woman who was driving east on Ventura past the procession heard what sounded like gunshots and noticed her tire went flat, Los Angeles police said in a news release. When she inspected it, she found it had been damaged by a projectile, possibly a bullet or a bullet fragment, police said.

Another witness told police there was a potential suspect in a nearby apartment building, prompting officers to lock down the building and evacuate the units.

Jorge Rodriguez, deputy chief of the LAPD Valley bureau, said the department obtained a photo of man with a rifle on the balcony of an apartment unit. It’s unclear what kind of rifle he was holding.

The alleged shooter and two others barricaded themselves inside the property in the 20500 block of Ventura Boulevard, Cooper said. It wasn’t immediately clear whether all three men were believed to be armed.

SWAT teams were at the location as of 3:30 p.m., police said.

At the endpoint of the caravan in Studio City, about 100 people gathered along Ventura Boulevard near Fairway Avenue, with pro-Trump protesters on one side of the street and a smaller group of Black Lives Matter protesters on the other.

Though the groups shared some verbal exchanges, no physical violence was reported.

Residents in the area said the standoff was unnerving

A helicopter hovered above Tina Johnson’s Woodland Hills apartment complex as she went to the pool for a quick swim.

She had heard that police were investigating a shooting nearby but didn’t realize how close. Then the leasing manager warned her there was a shooter barricaded in the building next door.

Johnson and her boyfriend returned to their apartment and locked the doors and windows.

“It’s kind of surreal,” Johnson, 23, said. In liberal California, she had “never met a Trump supporter.”

But now, here they were, a caravan with Trump flags waving on the back of their pickup trucks cruising down Ventura Boulevard.

The sight and the subsequent confrontation seemed like something that might happen in the South, but not here.

“We wouldn’t have ever imagined it would happen in California,” Johnson said.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore discussed political protests and recent clashes between pro-Trump demonstrators and counter-protesters with the Police Commission last week, discussing encounters in the city’s Foothill Division and in Beverly Hills.

He described attacks between protesters, rocks and bottles being thrown at police, and police responding with projectiles.

“We have concerns regarding protests involving political discord, people who have very strong and opinionated views of our Democratic society and are out protesting,” Moore said. “What we ask for them to do, and our efforts in Foothill and in every part of the city will be to reach out and understand who the organizers are and to facilitate and do everything possible to keep people safe and ensure that the conduct of everyone there remains lawful and respectful of each other’s 1st Amendment rights.”

“When acts of violence or property damage and so forth occur, then we will take added actions proportional to the set of circumstances to establish control and ensure that people’s rights are respected and people are not injured,” he said.

Times staff writer Kevin Rector and photographer Francine Orr contributed to this story.





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