A gunman stormed into the CBS’ Television City complex shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday and tried to open fire, forcing an estimated 800 Eye staffers to flee the sprawling media complex as his gun jammed, police said.
More than four hours later, surrounded by police who had been trying to talk him into surrendering, the gunman shot himself in the abdomen. He was hospitalized in critical condition. No one else was hurt.
According to a Los Angeles Police Dept. deputy chief, the gunman, 31, crashed a car through the network’s gate, drove up to the building’s artists entrance, then walked inside brandishing a gun.
Production on CBS sudsers “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “The Young and the Restless” was halted as a result of the disturbance.
A man who was in the building’s lobby when the gunman entered told KABC-TV that the suspect aimed his gun at a mail supervisor and tried to fire twice, only to have the weapon apparently misfire.
“I looked again, and he was on the ground and reloading, and something fell out of the gun,” the man, who was not identified, told the station. “That’s when I realized that this was not a joke.”
However, police said the weapon could be a BB-gun or a toy replica.
CBS spokesman Chris Ender said the building was quickly evacuated without incident.
“The bottom line is everyone is out, everyone is safe, and we’re thankful for that,” Ender said.
Officer Jason Lee said the man had barricaded himself inside an office. “Everybody is out, he’s the only guy in there,” Lee said. “There are no hostages, and no shots have been fired.”
Dozens of employees congregated in the parking lot as a SWAT team entered the complex where “The Price is Right” and other shows are filmed.
Witnesses said the man had threatened suicide unless the network broadcast his unspecified demands.
Employees at the Beverly and Fairfax facility didn’t appear shaken; most simply complained of trying to get their cars out of the Television City parking lot.
“I’ve been here for 30 years, and I’ve always felt secure in the building,” Mark Cohen said. “The company has done a great job in keeping us secure.”
Television City, the West Coast headquarters of CBS News, has long been home to numerous CBS fixtures, including “All in the Family,” “The Smothers Brothers,” “The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour” and “Hollywood Squares.”
KCBS-TV news, produced by the network’s affiliate, is located in a separate facility and was not disrupted by the evacuation.
The threatened facility is a few miles west of its relatively new sister studio, Paramount Pictures. Both are owned by Viacom.
There was no definitive word on whether the gunman was an employee or in some other way connected to any of the corporation’s entertainment entities.
(Reuters, AP and other news services contributed to this report.)