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Gunman on busy L.A. shopping street killed by police

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  • LAPD responded after a shooting on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, Calif. on Friday. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via AP)

LOS ANGELES » A man with a gun was fatally shot by Los Angeles police on Friday in a busy shopping district in the San Fernando Valley, authorities said.

The shooting occurred after police responded to a call of a man with a gun on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, Los Angeles police Detective Meghan Aguilar said.

Police had worried there might be a bomb attached to the body or to suspicious devices nearby, but the bomb squad cleared the area and no explosives were discovered.

A handgun was found, Aguilar said.

Terry Burstein, 53, of Studio City, California, told The Associated Press that she was headed to her job as a real estate agent about 3 p.m. and pulled into a parking lot when she saw a man who appeared relaxed, sitting on a low brick wall near a planter between a Chipotle restaurant and a Union Bank.

She almost didn’t notice him until several teenagers walked out of the Chipotle and screamed. Then she took a closer look and realized the man was responsible for the popping noise she was hearing. Burstein said she saw him raising a handgun in the air, and he fired off six shots in a row.

He emptied the magazine and then, as if in slow motion, pulled a new magazine from a brown paper bag between his legs and reloaded the gun, she said. Then he sat, quietly staring at the ground in front of him, seemingly in thought for a couple minutes, Burstein said.

In that time, three people walked by, oblivious to the fact that the man had just been shooting a gun. Even drivers nearby her on the busy Friday afternoon roadway didn’t seem to realize what was happening, Burstein said.

The man then shot once more into the air, before putting the gun into the paper bag and appearing to wait.

The man didn’t seem interested in shooting at people, Burstein said, and because he was so relaxed, she wasn’t really worried.

"He just didn’t seem to be a dangerous person, other than the fact that obviously he had this gun," Burstein said. "He was just in his own little world."

She described him as being in his 20s with a thick beard and mustache and said he appeared to be dressed for winter with a leather jacket on in the warm California weather.

"He wasn’t making a fuss, wasn’t shouting, didn’t seem angry … didn’t seem to have a game plan, wasn’t running away," Burstein said. "He just sat there, waiting to be shot."

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