Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Attorney Mike Feuer, who filed a nuisance abate suit against an owner of a North Hollywood apartment complex because the property — according to the suit — is controlled by a local gang.
The 116-unit complex, located on between the 13100 and 13200 block of Vanowen Street, is owned by Swaranjit “Mike” Nijjar, who according to the city owns and manages approximately 20 residential properties in Los Angeles. According to the complaint, the complex is comprised of 12 two-story buildings, courtyards, common areas and parking spots surrounded by open gates and a fence that are unsecured and accessible to anyone.
Also named in the suit is Nijjar’s sister Daljit Kler, who according to the city is involved in the property’s day-to-day operations.
The suit alleges that the complex is an alleged “stronghold” for the North Hollywood Locos gang. According to Feuer, the Los Angeles Police Department has documented nine gang-related shootings at the property over the last 15 months, including five since December 2021.
As part of the suit, the LA city attorney wants to force Nijjar and Kler to live in the Vanowen Street complex “until certain maintenance requirements are met, including the installation of fencing, gating, and a video security system, and the deployment of security guards on the property.
“Let him learn what it’s like to live with shooting after shooting, because that’s what the hard-working families at this property endure all the time,” Feuer said at a Feb. 24 press conference.
The suit alleges that their neglect of the property has allowed the NH Locos gang to take over, including tagging it “with graffiti to make it clear to tenants, community members and rivals that it is under their control and that they will aggressively defend it from other gangs, including rivals MS-13.”
Among the more most recent gang-related shootings, according the LAPD:
A few of the most recent include:
December 18, 2021: Members of the rival MS-13 gang shot at someone in the back of the property and hit him in the leg. Five bullet casings were recovered.
December 26, 2021: Two gang members, both armed with handguns, robbed two victims who were walking on the sidewalk in front of the property, placing their guns on the forehead of each victim. Following the robbery, one of the suspects opened fire and struck a victim in the hip and foot, then fled into the property.
January 5, 2022: A shooting occurred onsite in which two suspects fired approximately three rounds at an unknown victim.
January 12, 2022: Gunfire erupted and although responding LAPD officers were unable to locate any victims or suspects, they recovered more than 20 bullet casings in the building’s parking area.
In addition to impacting tenants at the property, the violence and ongoing nuisance activity spills into the neighborhood, including to parishioners of St. Paul’s, according to the suit, which alleges that on Oct. 15 — with approximately 60 children from the youth group playing in the parking lot — a bullet from the property whizzed by the head of an adult chaperone.
The suit also states that on Sept. 18, someone at the property flashed a gun at attendees of a women’s group meeting at the church. And in May 2020, a stray bullet from the property passed through one of the church windows and hit the mirror in the pastor’s dressing room.
St. Paul’s has suspended its youth group activities during this recent outbreak of shootings and installed a metal barrier along its border with the property, in order to shield parishioners from gunfire, according to the suit.
“The violence at and around this gang-ridden property has got to stop now,” Feuer said. “It’s so bad that the church next door had to suspend youth activities during this recent outbreak of shootings to keep young congregants out of harm’s way, then erect a metal barrier to deflect bullets.”
Nijjar, his sister and their associates were repeatedly and explicitly told by LA city officials that the property was a “vortex of volatile, dangerous gang activity” — including a turf war with another gang — and that the implementation and maintenance of physical and managerial improvements was desperately needed, according to the suit.