An armed man who police say may have been involved in a gunfight with another person in a Long Beach bar Wednesday shot two men, one fatally, and was found dead after a responding officer opened fire, authorities said.
The officer was flagged down while patrolling in the 1700 block of East Artesia Boulevard about 12:20 a.m. by someone who said there was a shooting inside the Bottoms Up Tavern, according to police and reports from the scene.
“As the officer approached the business, he heard additional shots being fired,” Long Beach police spokeswoman Shaunna Dandoy said in a statement. “The officer could see into the business, saw the suspect with a gun and an officer-involved shooting occurred.”
Meanwhile, police received a 911 call from a patron in the bar “indicating there was a shooting inside and there were other patrons locked in a storeroom,” Dandoy said.
“The initial officer lost sight of the suspect and although it was believed the suspect was still inside, his exact location was unknown,” she said.
SWAT officers were sent to the scene, she said, adding, “Once inside, SWAT officers located the male adult suspect on the ground, non-responsive and still holding the firearm.”
Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene.
“Based on the preliminary investigation, the suspect was inside the business when he confronted and shot a male adult working inside the business,” Dandoy said.
“Although this victim was shot in the upper torso, he was able to run out of the business. He was later taken to a local hospital by the Long Beach Fire Department with non-life-threatening injuries,” she said.
“After this initial shooting with the employee, there is evidence that the suspect exchanged gunfire with an unknown patron of the business,” she said. “The suspect then moved to another portion of the business, where he shot and killed an adult male victim before being confronted by the officer.”
The names of the fatally wounded men were withheld, pending notification of their next of kin. No officers were injured. Several patrons reported minor injuries they suffered while fleeing the business, she said, adding that police were working to identify and locate the person who may have exchanged gunfire with the suspect.
“The motive behind the initial shooting is unknown at this time,” Dandoy said. “The department believes that the individuals who reported the incident and the quick actions of the officers involved prevented additional casualties during this incident.”
When asked if it was known whether the suspect was wounded by the officer or by the person with whom he may have exchanged gunfire — or if he had shot himself — Dandoy said, in a statement: “The Los Angeles County coroner’s office will be determining the official cause of death for the suspect.”
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office will conduct a separate investigation of the incident as they do with all officer-involved shootings.
Anyone with information on the case was urged to call homicide detectives at 562-570-7244, or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.