Hollywood murder mystery: Why would someone kill Carrie Jean Melvin?

Carrie Jean Melvin moved from Northern California to Los Angeles with dreams of a career in the entertainment industry.

Story highlights

  • Carrie Jean Melvin and her boyfriend were walking near their apartment to grab a bite on Sunset Boulevard
  • The suspect fired a single shotgun blast and calmly walked to a black sedan, which drove off

Los Angeles (CNN)Why would anyone gun down a young woman walking down the street with her boyfriend and then calmly stroll away?

Detectives in Los Angeles say they're mystified. They are asking for the public's help in trying to solve the weekend slaying of 30-year-old Carrie Jean Melvin.
Melvin and her boyfriend were walking near their apartment to grab a bite along Hollywood's famed Sunset Boulevard. They turned to look back when they heard a noise behind them. Nobody said a word, according to police. The suspect fired a single shotgun blast.
    Melvin fell to the sidewalk, and the gunman calmly walked to a black sedan, which drove off. Her boyfriend, who was not hurt, is cooperating, police said.
    John Skaggs, a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department, said police know of no motive for Sunday night's attack. Police also find it unusual that the killer used a shotgun.
    The motive remains a mystery and detectives have very few leads.
    Although the area is thick with bars and nightclubs, Melvin hadn't been to a club.
    "She hadn't been out partying, she wasn't running with a negative element, no criminal rap sheet," said Skaggs. "We need all the information we can get about what happened that night."
    Detectives are canvassing the area for surveillance videos, which they hope can reveal clues. But, Skaggs cautioned, it might be difficult to get a clear view of the suspect from video because the attack happened at night.

    Dreams of a show business career

    Bernie Melvin on the slaying of his daughter: "It's such an incredible senseless loss. We're devastated."
    Melvin's father, Bernie Melvin, told CNN affiliate KTLA that she was the happiest she's ever been. Her motivation for moving from Northern California to Los Angeles is one echoed by countless others -- she wanted to work in the entertainment industry and recently had launched an online business with hopes for a career in show business.
    "It's such an incredible senseless loss. We're devastated," Melvin told KTLA. "She was with someone she loved. She was where she wanted to be and her life was taken."
    The fatal shooting took place just blocks away from the Hollywood and Highland intersection, a hot spot among tourists and the location of the Dolby Theater -- home of the Academy Awards.
    "It's a good community, the crime rate is relatively low, we don't have many incidents that occur in the area," Skaggs said.
    Neighbors, meanwhile, are on edge.
    Nikkolene Callis, who lives nearby, told CNN affiliate KABC she heard an extremely loud gunshot Sunday night. She says the neighborhood is fairly safe, but the incident has her concerned.
    "I'd like to know more about the situation. Is it just somebody running around shooting people?" Callis asked. "Do we have something that's worth me taking precautions?"
    Paula Martinez has lived in the neighborhood for a more than a year and also heard the shot.
    "It's scary, it's very scary," she told KABC. "We're going to move out of here."

    Comparisons to San Francisco shooting

    The seemingly random shooting invites comparisons to another shooting that has found its way into the political conversation.
    Kate Steinle, 32, was walking with her father along the bustling Pier 14 in San Francisco when she was struck by a bullet. Her father, Jim, tried to help her, but she died at the scene.
    Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who is accused of the shooting, says he found the weapon wrapped in a T-shirt and it accidentally went off when he picked it up, according to CNN affiliate KGO.
    The chance encounter sparked a nationwide debate over U.S. immigration laws. Lopez-Sanchez has seven felony convictions, four for drug offenses, according to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency knows as ICE. His most recent deportation was in 2009.
    On Tuesday, Lopez-Sanchez pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges. His bail was set at $5 million.
    While police in the San Francisco have a suspect and weapon, detectives in Los Angeles have neither, and are left with unanswered questions.
    Carrie Melvin's friends, devastated over the loss, are hoping the public can help provide some much-needed answers.
    "Somebody has to know something," Samantha Persall told CNN affiliate KTLA. "It's too public, it's too poignant, it's too direct."