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Shots fired at Chinese consulate in LA, 1 arrested

December 17, 2011
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LOS ANGELES—Police said they have arrested a man in connection to a Thursday afternoon shooting outside the Chinese consulate building in downtown Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Times reported that a protester fired nine shots at a security guard around 2:15 p.m., but only hit the building. The man, 67-year-old Jeff Baoliang Zhang, turned himself in about three hours later, Officer Gregory Baek said.

"He was protesting their human rights record or lack thereof," said police spokesman Bruce Borihanh.

Zhang, a naturalized U.S. citizen, resides in Las Vegas, police said. He is originally from Shanghai.

A group demonstrating against human rights abuses in China had gathered outside the consulate earlier Thursday. One protester argued with a security guard after the guard allegedly took a sign and threw it in the trash. The protester then got into a vehicle and allegedly opened fire.

The security guard, Cipriano Gutierrez, told KCAL-9 television that there were about 20 people inside the consulate when the man fired at the building.

"I hit the ground and I was praying," Gutierrez said. "I grabbed phone books and put them over my head. A bullet came in the room right next to my knee. I thought I was going to die."

Bail was set at $100,000 and Zhang was being held in a downtown jail.

Authorities say the bullets hit the side of the building but no injuries were reported.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin urged the United States to take concrete measures to ensure the safety of Chinese missions, institutions and personnel there. He also urged the U.S. to solve the case as soon as possible.

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