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Shooting at Pier Wednesday Night Puts Santa Monica Back in the Crime News

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Jorge Casuso

October 17, 2019 -- A man was shot in the leg Wednesday night in the parking lot north of the Pier, causing panicked visitors to flee from the scene and putting Santa Monica back in the crime news.

The shooting -- which drew television news crews and helicopters to the popular destination -- took place at around 10 p.m. in the 1550 lot, police said.

"Only one victim is involved and that person has been transported to a local hospital w(ith) a non life threatening wound to their lower leg," the Police Department wrote in a tweet posted at 10:39 p.m.

Witnesses at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. on the pier said they heard a single gunshot and saw a man fall to the ground before trying to limp away, according to NBC Los Angeles.

Two men then jumped into a white vehicle and raced from the scene, witnesses said.

The incident received dramatic coverage on the eleven o'clock news, with the local NBC affiliate headline reading "Panic at the Pier."

It was the latest in a series of Santa Monica crimes that have gained widespread coverage over the past two months.

In August, a security guard in an armored truck opened fire on a knife wielding suspect, sending panicked shoppers on the Promenade ducking for cover ("Suspects Arrested in Two Separate Santa Monica Robberies Thursday and Friday," August 16, 2019).

Last month, Santa Monica was back in the news when a robber dressed in a Day of the Dead mask held up a bank on Montana Avenue and eluded capture ("Santa Monica Bank Robber at Large After Extensive Police Search," September 10, 2019).

Three days later, a suspected burglar was shot and wounded by Santa Monica after he barricaded himself in a backyard with a gun ("Suspected Burglar Hospitalized After Police-Involved Shooting," September 13, 2019).

One week later, another man barricaded himself behind a dumpster at a Santa Monica auto dealership leading to a standoff with police that lasted several hours ("Barricaded Suspect Prompts Major Police Response," September 20, 2019).

In her quarterly crime report posted on October 7, Police Chief Cynthia Renaud acknowledged the impact of the high-profile cases.

"In the last month, Santa Monica has experienced a handful of unique and high-profile incidents that attracted media coverage and news helicopters," Renaud wrote.

"I understand how that may cause some to feel unsafe. I want to reassure when crimes occur you have an extremely professional and highly trained police force working to keep you safe every day."

In her update, Renaud reported that crime had dropped by about 15 percent over the first nine months of the year, compared to the same period last year ("Crime Dropped in Santa Monica During First Nine Months of Year, Police Data Show," October 8, 2019).

But the responses to the department's tweeter post reporting the Pier shooting Wednesday night shows some remain skeptical that Santa Monica is safer.

"Sheesh...but 'part 1' crime rates are down right?" wrote Declan Durcan. "What will this get reported as? What about other crimes and misdemeanors?"

"What’s happening in Santa Monica?" wrote Rob C. "Crime has skyrocketed, that’s what’s happening.

"There are only 8 patrol cars on duty at any given time. We need more police. We need a city council that cares about the citizens."

In her quarterly crime report, Renaud said SMPD recently hired 20 more officers and is "working to reach our full staffing numbers.

"This means there are more police units out on the street to continue with our crime-fighting efforts and commitment to community outreach," the Chief said.

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