People ‘parachuting off’ graffiti-covered skyscraper in downtown L.A., mayor says

People ‘parachuting off’ graffiti-covered skyscraper in downtown L.A., mayor says
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LOS ANGELES — City officials further sounded the alarm Monday after video circulated on social media appearing to show someone paragliding from unfinished towers that attracted graffiti artists and taggers downtown.

The buildings appearing in the video appear to be the same unfinished high risers that were tagged with nearly 30 floors of graffiti.

“I’m terrified someone’s going to fall or be pushed,” Mayor Karen Bass said. “There are people who are parachuting off of the building.”

Bass said city leaders had no choice but to use already-stretched-thin resources from the police department with officers dispatched to surround the site, as the building developers did not propose safety measures to keep people off the property.

“I guarantee you tragedy will take place there if that place is not boarded up quickly,” Bass warned. “New fences will be put up, but it’ll take a few days. The owner should reimburse the city for every dime.”

Graffiti slammed Oceanwide Plaza tower. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images file)
Graffiti slammed Oceanwide Plaza tower. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images file)

Construction for Oceanwide Plaza, on the 1100 block of Flower Street, was halted in 2019 when the Chinese developers who had initially planned for condos, a mall and a hotel ran out of funding. Since work stopped, the uninhabited complex of empty towers has become an attraction for graffiti artists.

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a motion Friday to give the property owners until this Saturday to respond to the city’s request to secure the vacant building and restore the nearby sidewalks.

City Council member Kevin de León said city officials notified the property owners in several ways, such as email, phone calls, fax and messages through social media platforms.

“I’m not holding my breath,” de León responded when he was asked whether city officials believed the developer that ran out of money in 2019 would secure the site. “But that does not mean we cannot continue putting the pressure on them.”

If Oceanwide Inc. does not respond by the deadline, de León said, city staffers will step in to remove all obstructions that are blocking sidewalks and streets, such as K-rail and scaffolding.

The long-term plan was to find a group of investors who would take over the project on prime land in Los Angeles, de León said.

The police department's Central Division, which oversees downtown Los Angeles and other areas, reported at least seven people have been arrested on suspicion of vandalism, trespass, burglary and other crimes. Central Division detectives were also placed to investigate crimes committed at the site, the police department said.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com