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Man Killed In Shootout At South LA Masonic Lodge

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NBC 4 Los Angelas

Man Killed In Shootout At South LA Masonic Lodge

January 10, 2007

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles police on Wednesday fatally shot an unarmed man at a South Los Angeles Masonic Lodge that was the site of a disturbance where another man was shot and wounded by an unknown person, authorities said.

Officers were responding to a major disturbance involving about 200 people when the shooting occurred at 9714 Avalon Blvd. about 12:15 a.m., said Officer Karen Smith of the Los Angeles Police Department's Media Relations Section. The building houses the Mt. Nebo Grand Lodge.

Philip Arthur Miller, 43, of Carson, died at the scene, said Craig Harvey of the coroner's office.

Another man was wounded in a separate shooting that did not involve police, said LAPD Sgt. Lee Sands, also of Media Relations. That man was hospitalized in stable condition.

No officers were injured, Sands said.

Sands said officers went to the site on a report of a group disturbance. Chief William Bratton said the case was gang-related.

"As they drive up, gunshots are heard coming from the location," Sands said. "Some time while there, they encounter an individual (and) he puts his hands by his waistband."

An officer shot the man -- identified by the coroner's office as Miller - - and detectives later determined that he had not been armed, Sands said. Earlier, an LAPD spokeswoman said Miller was "an active shooter."

Officers searched the building and found four guns inside, Bratton said. Investigators believe the gunshots heard as officers arrived at the scene were the shots that wounded the man who was hospitalized, Sands said.

Detectives, who interviewed more than 30 people, were trying to determine who shot the man who was hospitalized, and if Miller was involved in that crime, Sands said.

RMG News cameraman Scott Pacheco said more than 50 officers, including SWAT team members, were at the scene as two helicopters with spotlights circled overhead. Pacheco said he saw officers fire into the building, and and shots being fired from inside.

"One victim came out hobbling, then LAPD grabbed him and put him in an ambulance," Pacheco said. The man was bleeding and clutching his leg and head, he said.

Officers called in a "code 4," meaning "no further assistance needed" around 1:30 a.m., Pacheco said.

Activist Najee Ali of Project Islamic HOPE planned a news conference Wednesday afternoon to discuss the shooting. Ali planned to call on the FBI to investigate the shooting.

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