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Woman Dies After Skid Row Shooting, Suspect Arrested for Murder

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, November 23, 2009, at 08:33PM

A 38-year-old woman died at Los Angeles County - USC Hospital this afternoon one hour after being shot outside the Marshal House at 523 S. San Julian. Michelle Cato, 27, was arrested for murder just after the incident, which took place around 3:35pm.

"This appears to be a cold-blooded shooting," said Lt. Paul Vernon, who heads up the Central Detective Division, in a release. "The suspect shot this woman in full view of the victim’s 23-year-old son and dozens of bystanders."

Witnesses, including the son, chased Cato until she was grabbed by an LAPD motorcycle officer outside the Central Division station.

A motive is unknown. Cato was initially being held without bail due to a prior narcotics conviction, but Sheriff's department systems now show bail has now been set at $1 million. Records show that Cato was arrested on October 7 by Central Division, but was released the next day.

The murder is Downtown's fifth for 2009, and the first since a double murder on Easter Sunday. In 1990, Downtown had 46 murders. There were six in 2008.

Anyone with information is asked to call LAPD Central Division homicide detectives at (213) 972-1254. Callers can also phone the 24-hour number at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (527-3247).

Update (Tuesday, 9am): Corrected Cato's age and added updated bail information.

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