Daily Local & Regional NewsWatch
LA Police Protective League


Los Angeles
Police Protective League
the union that represents the
rank and file LAPD officers

  Daily Local & Regional NewsWatch

Daily News Digest
from LA Police Protective League

June 19, 2017

Law Enforcement News

Captured Georgia Inmates Make First Court Appearance
The two Georgia inmates who were captured Thursday night are making their first court appearance Friday afternoon. Both inmates waived extradition and could be sent back to Georgia at any time. Ricky Dubose and Donnie Russell Rowe, who investigators said shot and killed two Georgia corrections officers during their escape on Tuesday morning from a prison van in Putnam County,  surrendered near Murfreesboro, Tennessee after law enforcement officials said a day-long crime spree for the pair ended at the end of a gun of an alert homeowner. Authorities say they began to pursue the suspects unknowingly while responding to an armed robbery call. The inmates allegedly crashed the newly stolen vehicle near mile marker 91 and fled on foot. That is when officials realized they were the inmates that escaped from Georgia. 
FOX 11

South LA Gang Attack, Man Shot Dead
One man was shot and killed Sunday in an apparent gang-related attack in South Los Angeles, authorities said. The shooting at the intersection of 58th Street and Denker Avenue was reported about 4:20 p.m., LAPD Sgt. Thomas Bojorquez said. “It was an apparent drive-by and likely gang-related,” Bojorquez said. The victim died at the scene. His identity was withheld pending notification of kin. There was no suspect information, Bojorquez said. Anyone with information was asked to call the LAPD's 77th Street Division at (213) 485-4164. Tipsters can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS. All tips can be made anonymously.

Gunman Fires At Police, Bullet Strikes Officer's Helmet In South LA Shooting
A round fired by a gunman during a South Los Angeles shootout Thursday with police struck a Los Angeles officer's protective helmet. The shootout began after the man opened fire on officers who were speaking with someone outside a home near 49th and San Pedro streets as part of a parolee  compliance check. Two officers returned fire and SWAT officers responded to the neighborhood during the ensuing search for the shooter, who left the home with a handgun, police said. During the search, the gunman fired sporadically at officers, police said. About six hours later, the man was taken into custody after he surrendered.  The officer whose helmet was struck during the shootout returned to work later Thursday evening. The round was fired as officers were looking into a shed in which the gunman was hiding, police said.

Teen Girl Shot In Leg During Drive-By Shooting In Hyde Park
A 17-year-old girl was shot in a leg during a drive-by shooting Saturday while standing on a street in the Hyde Park area of Los Angeles, authorities said. It happened at 7:50 p.m. on Crenshaw Boulevard at Slauson Avenue, said Sgt. Thomas Bojorquez of the Los Angeles Police Department's 77th Station. The girl was “part of a group standing on a sidewalk when a vehicle drove by and someone fired into the crowd,” Bojorquez said. She was taken to a hospital where her vital signs were stable, he said. It was not known whether the girl and her group were involved in an event at the nearby flagship of rapper Nipsey Hussle's The Marathon clothing store at 3420 West Slauson Avenue, Bojorquez said.
Los Angeles Daily News

Authorities Caution Online Safety As Sting Operation Leads To 187 Arrests Of Child Predators
As summer break gets underway for children, Operation Broken Heart aims to keep kids safe from online child predators. Police said summer break means children have more free time and less supervision when they're online. It makes sharing the results of a two-month sweep of suspected online child predators much more important and urgent. "This operation resulted in the arrest of over 186 child predators. The arrests and subsequent charges include possession, manufacturing and distributing of child pornography," LAPD Capt. Julian Melendez said. The monthslong joint task force effort was dubbed Operation Broken Heart. One investigation led police to a Los Angeles man who they said used an online video game to lure his young victims. "In exchange for passcodes to this video game, he would ask them to send him child pornography - pictures of themselves," Melendez said.

LAPD Suspends Cadet Programs At Stations Where Teens Accused Of Stealing Police Cruisers Were Assigned
In a widening investigation of the Los Angeles Police Department's cadet program, Chief Charlie Beck on Sunday announced he has suspended training for cadets at the 77th Street Division and Pacific Division, where three cadets arrested on suspicion of stealing police cruisers were based. The move is part of a “top-to-bottom” review of the citywide cadet program following revelations that besides the theft of three cruisers, the cadets may have also stolen other police equipment and posed as sworn officers. The suspensions are in effect pending the outcome of the investigation, officials said. Two of the accused cadets were assigned to the 77th Street Division and the third to the Pacific Division, said Josh Rubenstein, LAPD public information director. The teens, ages 15, 16 and 17, were not identified because they are minors. They were booked in connection with the theft of the cruisers and other LAPD property, Beck said. 
Los Angeles Times

Wife, Alleged Lover Charged With Murder Of Famed Hairstylist
The wife of a prominent hairdresser who was fatally stabbed at his Woodland Hills home was charged Friday with capital murder, along with her alleged lover, who is suspected of actually killing the man. Prosecutors contend Monica Sementilli, 45, and Robert Louis Baker, 55, were having an affair, then plotted and carried out the killing of Fabio Sementilli, 49. The murder charge against them includes the special circumstance allegations of murder for financial gain and lying in wait. Prosecutors will decide later if they will seek the death penalty against the pair. The charge against Baker also includes an allegation of using a knife in the killing. Their arraignment was postponed until June 29 in Van Nuys. They were ordered to remain jailed without bail. Outside court, Sementilli's attorney, Leonard Levine, told reporters his client was not involved in her husband's killing. 

Mother May Have Abducted 3 Children To Mexico, Police Say
Three children were allegedly abducted by their mother from the Van Nuys home of her ex-husband and investigators fear she may have taken the youngsters to Mexico, police said Friday.  Crystal Juarez, 28, took the children, without permission from their father, about 4 p.m. Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. “The father has full custody of the children, while Crystal has authorized visitation on the weekends,” according to an LAPD statement. “Crystal has family in Tijuana, Mexico and may have taken the children there.”  Crystal Juarez is Hispanic, 5-foot-6, weighs 180 pounds and has a tattoo of the words “Humphrey Park” on the back of her neck. 

L.A. Lyft Driver Dropped His Pants, Says Passenger
A woman told police a man claiming to be a Lyft driver exposed himself to her in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles today after picking her up from a West Hollywood bar. The incident occurred about 12:45 a.m. at Melrose and Martel avenues, said Sgt. Brian Churchill of the Los Angeles Police Department's Wilshire Station. The woman told police she called for a Lyft at the West Hollywood bar and got into a Toyota Prius, Churchill said. The man stopped at Melrose and Martel avenues, saying he needed to urinate, and came back to the car with his pants down. The woman managed to get out of the car and flee the suspect, the sergeant said. People who use ride services should make sure they get a picture of their driver and their vehicle license number and compare them to the vehicle that picks them up before getting inside, Churchill said. Detectives were investigating, he said.
Los Angeles Daily News

Beverly Hills Resident Attacked, Robbed While On Walk Near Home
Two assailants robbed a man who was on a walk near his Beverly Hills home before attempting to burglarize his home and steal his car early Saturday morning, police said. The man left his home on the 200 block of South Tower Drive to take a stroll around 12:30 a.m., according to Los Angeles Police Sgt. Patrick Welsh. When he got near Shumacher Drive and Gregory Way, in the Carthay neighborhood of Los Angeles, he was approached by two men, at least one of whom was armed. The two men then assaulted him and took his belongings, Welsh said. The two attackers then walked the man back to his home and attempted to get him to take them inside. At this point, the victim fled, police said. The other two men, meanwhile, took the victim's vehicle and began driving away but crashed before making it far. 

How does Vagos Motorcycle Club operate?
It was founded in San Bernardino in the 1960s, but the Vagos Motorcycle Club has since grown into an international enterprise with at least 87 chapters in seven countries and an estimated 900-plus members, according to a federal grand jury indictment unsealed Friday. Federal agents arrested 22 people around Southern California on Friday in connection with the indictment, which alleges Vagos members committed more than 100 criminal acts, including murder, kidnapping, assault and narcotics distribution. Authorities said those arrested belong to Vagos.  The group, which law enforcement calls an outlaw gang but members say is a motorcycle club, operates mostly in the U.S., predominantly in California and Nevada. Members ride mainly Harley Davidson motorcycles and wear denim vests with patches bearing the group's emblem, the Norse god Loki, on a green background, according to the indictment.
Los Angeles Daily News

MS-13 Gains Recruits And Power In U.S. As Teens Surge Across Border
Danny Centeno-Miranda was 16 when he fled El Salvador, coming alone to the United States to find a path away from the violent MS-13 street gang police said he had belonged to years earlier. Caught at the U.S. border, federal authorities sent him to live with an uncle in a quiet Virginia suburb. He enrolled in high school, got a job at a Benihana restaurant and sent money home to his father to buy a cart to sell corn. But Danny met gang members at school and was sucked back into tensions between MS-13 and a rival gang. On orders from gang leaders in El Salvador, detectives say, he was shot to death as he trudged to a school bus stop one September morning.  The brazen killing in 2015 marked one of the opening salvos as the vicious gang has made a comeback in the United States after years of relative quiet. 
Washington Post

Man Plows Van Into Crowd
By London Mosque; 10 Injured In an attack that British Muslims say was aimed directly at them, a man plowed a van into a crowd of Muslim worshippers outside a north London mosque early Monday, injuring 10 people. London police are investigating it as a terrorist incident. Police said another man died at the scene, although he was receiving first aid at the time and it wasn't clear if he died as a result of the attack or of something else. British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the attack "on innocent people" and declared that Britain would stop at nothing to defeat extremism. "Hatred and evil of this kind will never succeed," she said in a televised statement. Police said the 48-year-old white man who was driving the van that hit those leaving evening prayers at the Finsbury Park mosque has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. Police have not released his identity. He has been taken to a hospital as a precaution.
Associated Press

Public Safety News

Family, Friends And Colleagues Honor Life Of LA Firefighter Killed In Ladder Fall
Relatives, colleagues and friends gathered Friday to honor the life of a Los Angeles firefighter who died two days after falling from a ladder during a training exercise. Kelly Wong, 29, fell about six stories from the Los Angeles Fire Department aerial ladder while participating in an exercise in downtown Los Angeles on June 3. He died at a hospital. A procession began about 8 a.m. at Main and First streets, led by an LAFD fire truck bearing the casket, followed by an honor guard and hundreds of mourners who walked north on Main Street and then heading west on Temple Street to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels for a "celebration of life'' service, which began about 9 a.m. "He was a big guy with a big heart,'' LAFD Capt. Erik Scott said.
FOX 11

L.A. County Firefighters Battling 1,000-Acre Wildfire Near Castaic Lake
Los Angeles County firefighters are battling a 1,000-acre wildfire near Castaic Lake north of Santa Clarita, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department air operations team. The blaze is moving at a moderate rate of speed and a second alarm assignment has been requested, county fire officials said. "With the grass being as tall as it is right now those are light flashing fuels and it gets moving relatively quickly," said Inspector Richard Licon. "The fire started out at 1:57 p.m. this afternoon and by 3 p.m. it was already 200 acres and moving pretty quickly." Three helicopters and one strike team are on the scene in addition to firefighters, according to a Department tweet. The fire was first reported to be 150 acres and moved into Angeles National Forest jurisdiction around 3 p.m., according to fire volunteers on the scene. 

Local Government News

LA's Marijuana Ordinance: Devil Is In The Details
The president of a major marijuana industry trade group serving the Los Angeles area says he has some issues with a recently released draft ordinance aimed at regulating the industry, but believes the process of amending it will be fair. As president of the Southern California Coalition, Virgil Grant represents hundreds of marijuana-related businesses and is one of the more powerful figures in the Los Angeles pot industry. When the City Council released the draft ordinance meant to regulate the coming recreational pot industry last week, the SCC issued a general statement of support but held back any detailed analysis. But in his first public comments on the draft ordinance, Grant told City News Service he believes the 60-day public comment period will help craft the ordinance more to his liking. “I have confidence that they will correct some of the things moving forward,” he said.

Surge In Latino Homeless Population ‘A Whole New Phenomenon' For Los Angeles
Timoteo Arevalos never imagined he'd end up here, loitering for hours on a bench at Hollenbeck Park in Boyle Heights, using his backpack as his pillow. He used to have a government job, but the recession hit and he was laid off. He then tried to scrape by as a dishwasher, but last fall his hours were cut and he couldn't pay his rent. Now, he is part of a rising number of Latinos who are living homeless in Los Angeles. Recent figures released by the county show that Latino homelessness shot up by 63% in the past year, a staggering number in a county that saw its overall homeless population soar by 23%, despite increasing efforts to get people off the street. Nearly every demographic, including youth, families and veterans, showed increases in homelessness, but Latinos delivered one of the sharpest rises, adding more than 7,000 people to the surge.

City Of Los Angeles Looks To Resurrect Tickets For Parking On Parkways, Greenbelt
The City Council's Transportation Committee took action Wednesday in support of a proposal to return to the practice of ticketing motorists for parking on parkways in Los Angeles. The Transportation Committee approved a proposed amendment that defines the meaning of a parkway — the area between the curb and the sidewalk that is generally landscaped — and would also prevent vehicles from being parked on the greenbelts. The ordinance is expected to be voted on by the full City Council next week. Parkway parking restrictions hves not been enforced by the city since 2011, when it temporarily suspended enforcement in response to complaints about tickets being issued to owners of cars parked on the so-called “apron” of driveways, which is the area of the driveway below the sidewalk, and as a result ended up allowing parkway parking.


About the LAPPL Formed in 1923, the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) represents the more than 9,900 dedicated and professional sworn members of the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPPL serves to advance the interests of LAPD officers through legislative and legal advocacy, political action and education. The LAPPL can be found on the Web at: