4 Killed in Shooting Outside Home on Devonshire Street [Video]

The scene of the homicides is an unlicensed boarding house, according to Councilman Mitch Englander.

Updated Sunday, 9:55 p.m.

A normally quiet residential neighborhood along the border of Northridge and Granada Hills became the scene of one of the most horrific crimes to strike the San Fernando Valley in recent memory when four people were found shot to death outside a home on the 17400 block of Devonshire Street early Sunday morning.

Capt. William Hayes of the Los Angeles Police Department Robbery-Homicide Division said the victims were found by officers early Sunday morning about 4:25 a.m. after a 911 caller reported hearing multiple shots fired and people screaming.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander, who represents the area, described the home as an unlicensed boarding house with "deplorable living conditions" where at least 12 people were residing.

No potential suspect or suspects have been identified by police and no weapon was discovered at the scene, Hayes said, who added that eight or nine people were inside the home at the time of the shooting.

“At this point in time, it’s very early in the stages. We’ve got conflicting information from witnesses. We’re trying to sort through all of that and put the story together,” Hayes said at an 11:30 a.m. press conference at the scene. (See the attached video.)

The victims were all believed to be of Asian descent, according to Officer Cleon Joseph of the LAPD Media Relations Section. The two female victims were approximately in their 20s, one male victim was in his 30s and the other male victim was in his 40s, Joseph said. Police would not confirm if any of the victims lived at the residence.

Englander, who is also a reserve officer with the LAPD, said police do not believe robbery was the motive for the shootings.

“This was clearly an isolated and targeted incident, it was not a random act. It did not appear that it was any type of attempted robbery, but something where the victims knew the suspect or suspects or had some type of acquaintance with them, because of where it occurred and the time it occurred. The fact that it was all close range, and [the victims] were all clothed and outside at that time,” Englander told Patch in a phone interview.

Hayes was asked if the victims were found face down and had been shot in the head execution style, as some early media reports had indicated, but he declined to confirm the reports, only saying the bodies were found in “differing positions.”

A neighbor, who wished to remain unidentified, told Patch he was under the impression the home was a boarding house or a sober living house. The house is surrounded by a fence, has two stories and is located in a neighborhood mostly populated with single-family houses.

“There were at least 10 guys living there and there were different people in and out of there all the time,” he said. 

Englander said that he had been inside the home after the shootings and that it is an unlicensed boarding house. Boarding houses are required to be licensed with the state of California, Englander said.  

“It was deplorable living conditions. Very unhealthy, very unsanitary, very unsafe,” Englander said. “One of the access points for one of the rooms—as an example, because there was so much furniture and debris against the door—was actually through the front window. There were mattresses all over the place and illegal structures that were barely habitable in the back, and clearly unsafe.”

Nearby residents said the area near the shootings is typically quiet and safe.

“I’ve been living here 25 years and I’ve never seen or heard of anything like this,” the unidentified neighbor told Patch.

He and another neighbor said that there was major police activity at the house about six or seven months ago, although they were unsure what the reason was.

“It is an incredibly quiet and safe neighborhood. In fact, it is only blocks away from the local police division,” Englander said. “It’s one of the safest neighborhoods in the San Fernando Valley, with few violent crimes. There certainly has been nothing of this nature in recent history.”

Los Angeles and other communities have seen a proliferation of unregulated boarding houses and group homes like the scene of the shootings over the last 10 years and further regulation by the city is needed, Englander said. An ordinance he drafted called the Community Care Facilities Ordinance is scheduled to be voted on by the Los Angeles City Council in January and if passed would ensure that unlicensed and unregulated group homes will not be allowed in low-density, single-family home areas like the scene of the shootings.

Because licensing is through the state, the city currently has little power to regulate boarding houses, but his ordinance would give the city “further teeth to go after them,” Englander said.

Patch will update this story as more information is available.

--Patch Editor Jessica Davis contributed to this report.

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Jo December 03, 2012 at 07:40 AM
For more than 7 long years, community leaders and residents across LA have pleaded with the Mayor, our Council Members, LA Police Department, City Attorney’s Office, Department of Building & Safety, Department of City Planning, and LA Fire Department to do something about the group/boarding/parolee houses proliferating across our City! And for every day that goes by without enforcement and without group house regulations – more and more residents who live within these facilities and the surrounding neighbors will be subjected to serious crimes, including murder and arson. Yet again we see another example, now in Northridge. Investigations are pending but it is quite clear that deadly crimes are associated with a group housing arrangement . On 11/20/12, we sent a letter to Herb Wesson, City Council President and cc’d Mayor Villaraigosa and other City officials that included a long list of crimes and incidents connected with other illicit group/boarding houses. How many more will be killed around these boarding houses in R1 low density neighborhoods? Everyone reading this needs to be aware that one of these nightmare boarding houses could open right next door to you, and LA City won't do anything. Boarding houses wreck the quality of life and property values. Most cities have strict regulations but not Los Angeles. Greedy owners & managers don't care about neighbors nor the tenants; it is big business. They stack beds to the ceilings and they charge rent per bed.
Draimanformayor Losangeles December 03, 2012 at 09:31 AM
Northridge Quadruple Murder is under investigation, neighbors are in shock – YJ Draiman I live in the area of Devonshire & Encino in Northridge. At about 3:20 am on Sunday morning December 2nd 2012 while working on my computer I heard 4-5 pops, since in the past we had kids popping firecrackers and cherry bombs, I thought it was one of those occasions. To my dismay when I went for a walk with my dog in the morning, I was astounded to find an army of Police vehicles and numerous TV stations mobile units. It was a terrible shock for me when I was informed by Councilman Englander that 4 people had been shot and are lying in front of the house on the 17400 block of Devonshire on the North side about 3 houses east of Encino. As an elected member and Secretary of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council, I felt it is my duty to work closely with the Police and neighbors and to calm the panic stricken neighborhood. I informed the Police and the TV crews that the people in the neighborhood will be extra vigilant and inform the Police of any suspicious people or occurrence in the vicinity. YJ Draiman, Northridge, CA 91325
just commenting December 03, 2012 at 03:40 PM
We the taxpayers are funding these ...it is time to say to the state STOP wasting our money. Owners of these Group homes get 3-5000 a month per person. It is a business in the residential are and the City is not even able to regulate them.
Mary Armen December 03, 2012 at 05:29 PM
not able? I think you mean REFUSE TO
Truthiness December 03, 2012 at 09:27 PM
So the trick the scoundrels who run these homes (and make a TON of money in the process) use is they claim that everyone living there is a member of their family, and they are therefore not regulated by the same rules that would apply to group/boarding/parolee houses. There are still capacity limits based upon square footage, but that does not stop them from moving in to a neighborhood and acting like they are doing nothing wrong and that the sweet little angels that live there are fine and upstanding citizens who never did anything wrong. Of course we all know that is a lie and that these "people" are fresh out of LA County Jail, some with a history of violent crime (though they are categorized by the last crime they committed, not the most violent). The web becomes more tangled when you add in the fact that in some cases a bail bond agency may actually have a financial stake in these homes so they are assured of a constant flow of bodies in and out of these places, which turn a blind eye to drug and alcohol use taking place within the premises that are supposed to be "sober". Never mind the fact that in some cases Men, Women, and Children are living under the same roof. Our solution is to call the Police/Sheriff every time we see one of the homes "residents" walking through the neighborhood looking into our yards and open garages. The easy way to defend yourself is with security cameras and a Glock, and if one if them trespasses, well, you know how that ends.
Julie Walmsley December 04, 2012 at 06:42 AM
It is true that taxpayers have funded some local group homes via parole office. However, not all are $3k-$5k. Some are, but typical rents for homes in the Valley are $700 - $1200.
anonz December 04, 2012 at 07:04 AM
Councilman Englander is manipulating this tragedy for his own political ends, attempting to turn around the overwhelming negative opinions of his discriminatory proposed ordinance. The Community Care Facilities Ordinance would have zero effect on unlicensed group homes--they are unlicensed, off the radar. Instead it would make illegal the living situations of tens of thousands of Angelenos, disproportionately displacing veterans, seniors, students, and the working poor. It's also disappointing to see the Patch acting as his mouthpiece.
Georgia Frabotta February 13, 2013 at 10:41 PM
Georgia Frabotta February 15, 2013 at 05:25 PM
The truth always hurts February 15, 2013 at 07:42 PM
Just so we are all clear on this, Georgia, you do have some vested interest in Angel Villa Sober Living, do you not? Yes, that's what I thought. Full disclosure is a wonderful thing, isn't it? Your drivel about blaming schools when children are shot is the usual false equivalency you and those of you ilk use when it looks like your little fiefdom might be scrutinized and subsequently regulated. CCFO will become a reality, and there is nothing you or anyone else that thinks they are smarter than the system can do about it, except perhaps to take your "business" elsewhere. Oh, and fix your caps lock, because you look like more of a troll than you already are, if that's possible.
Georgia Frabotta February 16, 2013 at 08:18 PM
Truthiness March 02, 2013 at 08:39 PM
Hey, Georgia, it's "Poisoning", not poising, and it's "Pray", not prey, genius.


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