PALMDALE – Authorities Thursday night were still searching for the gunman who shot and killed a man at a Palmdale McDonald’s in front of more than a dozen lunchtime customers.
The daylight shooting happened around 12:30 p.m. inside the McDonald’s on 47th Street East and Avenue S, according to Lt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
The victim was eating alone when he was attacked, Corina said.
“While he was sitting there, someone walked up behind him and shot him,” Corina said, adding that witnesses saw no altercation before the shooting.
“This guy just walked in through one door, shot him and left out another door. So it looked like something personal, like he had something against this individual,” Corina said. “It wasn’t like he shot up the McDonald’s. He just walked up to this individual, shot him and left.”
About 15 to 20 patrons were inside the restaurant when the victim was shot in his upper torso, Corina said. The gunman was last seen running out of the McDonald’s on foot, he added.
Authorities are still trying to determine the motive for the shooting.
“We’re not sure if it’s gang-related, drug-related or just personal,” Corina said. “He walked up from behind him, so the victim never saw him coming.”
The suspect was described only as an adult black male, Corina said, but detectives would be reviewing surveillance video from the location.
“The McDonald’s, of course, has video and then the Chevron also has video,” he said. ”Right now, we’re being told there’s just one suspect.”
The McDonald’s restaurant and the adjacent Chevron gas station were closed to the public all day as homicide detectives conducted their investigation.
Family members of the victim came to the crime scene Thursday evening and spoke with homicide detectives. One of them said the victim was her brother, and she identified him as 38-year-old Habib Ameer Zekajj. Sources said the victim was a rap artist who went by the stage name of Bigg Paybacc.
The victim’s identity could not be confirmed with coroner’s officials Thursday night.
Anyone with information on this shooting is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.