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Shooting Death at Tarzana Dispensary Above Synagogue Shocks Congregants Below

11:10 AM PDT on May 2, 2022

    photo: Max Kleinen/Unsplash

    Shots went off in and around a Tarzana cannabis dispensary on the San Fernando Valley's main drag of Ventura Boulevard this past Saturday afternoon, leaving one man dead and rattling a group of about 30 congregants who had just left after services at a synagogue located right beneath it.

    Police are now searching for two suspects, who reportedly fired multiple shots inside the store and in its back alley sometime after 12:30 p.m. before fleeing on foot, leaving behind the body of a "regular customer" identified by his mother as 28-year-old Brian Garcia.

    KTLA posits that the fatal shooting was the result of an armed robbery. Meanwhile, an LAPD spokesperson told L.A. Times that both the victim and motive remained unidentified as of Sunday.

    Putting an unexpected twist to this tragic murder, the dispensary, said to be a new storefront business at the address, is located above an unnamed synagogue, which had just ended its Shabbat services before the shooting occurred.

    About 30 congregants, including many children, were still there when the sounds of shots pierced the afternoon air.

    Rabbi Yossi Malka, who has, in the past, been associated with the Chabad of the Valley (located on the 18000 block of Burbank Boulevard, not Ventura Boulevard, where reports place Saturday's crime), tells the paper he heard "lots of shooting," and darted outside to check on the kids. At which point he watched a woman shout, "You killed my kid!"

    Malka, who brought his remaining congregants inside the building for their safety, claims the killing occurred upstairs, while he also heard shots continue to ring out as they were fired in the alley behind the building. A police car and helicopter shortly arrived on the scene.

    Just this past March, the fatal shooting of an elderly man and the beating of another man in a home in nearby Encino, was commented on for CBS by a Rabbi Yossi Malka, though there's no confirmation whether that neighbor is the same man who witnessed Saturday's tragic incident.

    Meanwhile, Maria Garcia, the woman who told both reporters and bystanders that her first-born son's life was taken in this tragic killing, is said to have stayed outside of the dispensary and murder scene through the evening, holding a candlelight vigil for the victim.

    A GoFundMe appears to have been set up by a Maria Garcia yesterday to raise money for funeral expenses for 28-year-old Brian Garcia, who is said to have "earned his angel wings in a very tragic way," detailing his "heart of gold," and "contagious smile and loving ways."

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