Jascent-Jamal Lee Warren, 26
Jascent-Jamal Lee Warren, a 26-year-old black man, was shot and killed Sunday, Aug. 30, in the 300 block of Ocean Front Walk in Venice, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.
Officers responded to a call of shots fired in the area and were directed by witnesses to two men who had been shot, LAPD Officer Norma Eisenman said. Warren was pronounced dead at 2:35 a.m. at the scene, according to coroner’s records.
Another man in his 40s who was wounded was taken to a hospital, where he is in stable condition. Police said that both shooting victims were involved in a dispute when someone pulled out a gun and fired at them.
Sris Sinnathamby, the owner of a beachfront hotel near the boardwalk, was charged Aug. 31 with one count of murder in Warren’s death.
Sinnathamby, a 54-year-old Asian man, was taken into custody Aug. 30, according to online sheriff’s department records.
In court, Deputy Dist. Atty. Kristin Trutanich said that Sinnathamby “aided, abetted and directed” the shooting, even if he didn’t pull the trigger. Sinnathamby pleaded not guilty to the shooting, and L.A. County Superior Court Judge Keith Schwartz set bail at $1 million.
In the days since the shooting, flowers, candles and photos have formed a memorial near where Warren died along the boardwalk.
Outside Sinnathamby’s pink-and-turquoise hotel near Ocean Front Walk and Dudley Avenue on Tuesday morning, Kiva Blount recounted what led up to the shooting.
Blount was preparing her bed in the seaside encampment about the time the bars closed, and she said she heard Sinnathamby shout at a homeless man near the boardwalk.
“I don't know what happened, but he snapped,” Blount said.
Warren, whose facility with words earned him the nickname Shakespeare, tried to intervene and ease the tension.
At some point, another man, who had a gun, approached Sinnathamby, and the hotel owner used a racial slur. The gunman began shooting at the crowd of mostly black homeless people, Blount and another witness said.
The gunman fired several shots and stopped to reload, she said.
“He was shooting like a madman,” Blount said, adding that the gunman fled in a dark SUV.
When the shooting stopped, she tied a T-shirt tourniquet around the wounded homeless man’s leg, she said. When she turned to Warren, though, he had already died, Blount said.
Some of the homeless people began beating up Sinnathamby, prompting him to run into his hotel and lock the door, she said.
After police arrived, he was escorted out of the hotel. Sinnathamby was arrested shortly after 8 a.m. at the LAPD’s Pacific Division station, according to arrest records.
Mariah Magomedova, 29, was cleaning the memorial Tuesday morning as tourists ambled by.
She recalled how Warren was the first person to offer her help when she arrived at Venice Beach in May, newly homeless from Tennessee. He showed her how to navigate the often intimidating community, helping her find bus tokens, clothes and other aid.
“He was uplifting,” she said. “He was dedicated to peace and offering spiritual support to anyone he met.”
She and others at the vigil said they weren’t familiar with Sinnathamby. The hotel owner and his staff weren’t known for treating the homeless poorly, some said.
Magomedova said Warren slept on the streets but held a day job. He posted his music to social media, hoping to one day be signed to a record label.
“In the process of working it out,” he said in one song posted online, “but it feels like life’s ills got it out for me.”