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

July 11, 2019
Law Enforcement News

4 Teens Charged With Felony Murder In Death Of Georgia Deputy
Three of four teenagers charged with felony murder in the death of Hall County Deputy Nicolas Dixon appeared before a Magistrate Court judge Tuesday, July 9. One of the teens had been previously charged within the past month with possession of a firearm by someone under the age of 18. Eric Velazquez, Brayan Omar Cruz and London Clements, all 17, appeared before Magistrate Court Judge Elizabeth Reisman on a video call between the courthouse and the jail. The 17-year-old authorities believe was the shooter, Hector Garcia-Solis, was still in the hospital being treated for gunshot wounds, but he is expected to survive. After a reading of the charge, Reisman asked if the defendants wanted a committal hearing, plea or trial. Reisman set a committal hearing in the case for Aug. 16 for Velazquez and Cruz. Clements asked for a plea during the video call. He was being assigned a public defender.
The Times, Gainesville, Ga.

Two Boys, Teen Girl Injured In South Los Angeles Drive-By Shooting
Two 12-year-old boys and a 16-year old girl were hospitalized Thursday morning in unknown condition with gunshot wounds suffered in a drive-by shooting in South Los Angeles, and the shooter was at-large. A car pulled up in the 500 block of West 97th Street about 10 p.m. and someone inside opened fire on the kids, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The victims were taken to a hospital in unknown condition, police said. A detailed description of the shooter or shooters or the suspect vehicle was not immediately available. It was unclear if the shooting was gang-related.

Longtime LADWP Worker Dies After Downtown L.A. Attack; Police Search For Man Possibly Involved
A longtime Los Angeles Department of Water and Power worker who was injured in a seemingly random attack in downtown Los Angeles a week ago has died, and police are still looking for a "person of interest" in the case. The victim was walking in the 400 block of East Temple Street toward a Metro train platform about 4:35 p.m. July 2 when a man walking in the opposite direction passed him. The man then turned around and "hooked his right arm around the victim's neck striking him," Los Angeles Police Department officials said in a crime alert. The victim fell to the ground, hit his head and was taken to a hospital in critical condition. He died the following night, LADWP spokeswoman Deborah Hong told KTLA this week. An autopsy revealed he died of blunt head trauma, according to the Los Angeles County Medical Coroner's Office. He was identified in a bulletin sent to department staff as Julius Rondez, who had worked for the agency for more than 33 years.

L.A. Community Says It's Tired Of Gun Violence As They Search For Young Mother's Killer
A Los Angeles community came together Tuesday night to speak out against violence and to honor a young woman who was murdered over the weekend. Micquel Hawkins, 22, was shot and killed Saturday night on East 29th Street and San Pedro. Two others were also shot. The young victim was a mother of a baby girl whose father was also murdered last year, according to family members. "When I roll down the street, I get so sick and tired of seeing candles grouped together. Block after block after block and another mother having to experience what I've gone through," said the victim's mother, Vanessa Hawkins. "The person who took this lady from us left behind the truest victim: a child that's going to grow up without a mother or a father. She has been orphaned." The family said they believe the surrounding community knows who killed Micquel, and they pleaded with them to break their silence.

Arraignment Delayed For Truck Driver Who Fatally Struck 2 Young Sisters
Arraignment was postponed Wednesday to Aug. 15 for the driver of a truck that fatally struck two young girls who were walking to school in the Exposition Park area. Stanley Bernard Randle, 32, was charged in May with two misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter stemming from the deaths of Marlene Lorenzo, 14, and her 12-year-old sister, Amy. Police said the girls were crossing a street on a green light near 37th Street and Broadway around 8 a.m. April 4 when they were struck by a big rig while on their way to nearby Clinton Middle School. Marlene died that day. Amy was hospitalized with severe injuries, and police announced April 22 that she had also died. At least one witness said the truck driver was looking down when he struck the girls, a suggestion he might have been looking at a cell phone, but the driver was not arrested or cited at the time. He remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators, police said.

Man Charged With Murder In Death Of Mackenzie Lueck, College Student From El Segundo
A tech worker was charged Wednesday with murder and kidnapping in the death of a Utah college student whose body was found in a wooded area with her arms bound behind her. Prosecutors said Ayoola A. Ajayi, 31, was the last person Mackenzie Lueck communicated with before she disappeared on June 17. She died of blunt force trauma to the head, and her body was found with her arms bound with zip ties and ropes, District Attorney Sim Gill said while announcing the charges. He declined to discuss a motive or the nature of the connection between Lueck and Ajayi. He also didn't say what kind of weapon was used. Lueck disappeared shortly after she returned from a trip to her California hometown for the funeral of her grandmother and took a Lyft from the airport to a park. She exchanged text messages with Ajayi and met him there, apparently willingly, but her phone was turned off a minute after the last text “and never powered back on,” Gill said. Police later found the charred phone in the backyard of Ajayi's home in Salt Lake City, along with a bone, muscle tissue and part of Lueck's scalp, Gill said.

California Man Who Kept Runaway Teen In Metal Box At Pot Farm Sentenced To 31 Years In Prison
A 36-year-old Lake County man was sentenced Wednesday to 31 years in prison for his role in illegally growing hundreds of marijuana plants and forcing a runaway teen to work at the farm, sometimes keeping her inside a small metal tool chest. Ryan Alan Balletto pleaded guilty in December to marijuana trafficking stemming from a May 2013 raid to his property outside of Clear Lake in Lake County, according to the U.S. attorney's office for the Northern District of California. At the property, authorities found not only a substantial marijuana growing operation with more than 1,300 plants but also dilapidated trailers where farmers appeared to be living in and a stash of weapons. Investigators compared the scene to the 1972 film “Deliverance.” "If I was a plant, that's where I'd want to live," David Prince, assistant special agent in charge of Homeland Security investigations in Northern California, said at the time of the raid. "If I was a human, that's not where I'd want to be." Authorities also found a 15-year-old girl from Los Angeles County who Balletto and another man, Patrick Stephen Pearmain, 31, forced to help them, prosecutors said.
Los Angeles Times

Inside The Ambitious Campaign To Push Chicago Homicides Below 400
In a conference room on the Far South Side of Chicago, Jalon Arthur, an employee of a local nonprofit violence reduction program, unfurled a giant city map across a table. He pointed at patches of orange, yellow, purple, and pink stretched across neighborhoods on the South and West sides. Each color signified the coverage area of a street outreach organization. Their workers mediate disputes before they snowball into cycles of tit-for-tat shootings; they also steer high-risk individuals into social services designed to keep them away from violence. Until recently, Arthur said, workers from different organizations rarely collaborated, even if they shared common terrain. “Chicago has a long history of working in silos — on every level,” said Arthur, the director of strategic priorities for Creating Real Economic Destiny, or CRED. “That lack of coordination between the groups made the whole strategy fractured.” But now, the walls have broken down, with outreach workers banded together in what Arthur and many others have portrayed as part of a monumental shift in Chicago's burgeoning gun violence prevention landscape. 
The Trace

Public Safety News

3 Businesses Destroyed In Fashion District Fire
Firefighters battled a blaze that damaged three businesses in the Fashion District of downtown Los Angeles Thursday morning. The fire erupted around 4:20 a.m. in the 1200 block of Wall Street, near Pico Blvd, in a 50-foot-by-100-foot building. Arriving firefighters located flames through the roof and heavy smoke coming from the the businesses, said Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department. About 30 minutes later,  firefighters were pulled out of the businesses and transitioned to a defensive operation, battling the blaze from the exterior, and requested additional task forces, Stewart said. Crews successfully prevented the fire from spreading to adjacent businesses, she said. No injuries were reported in the first hour of the battle. Firefighters were expected to remain at the location for several hours and drivers were asked to avoid the area of Wall Street and Pico Boulevard.
FOX 11

Elevated Mercury Found In Blood Of Some SF Firefighters Who Battled Tubbs Fire
Some San Francisco firefighters who pitched in to battle the deadly Tubbs Fire in 2017 came back to their firehouses with higher levels of mercury and other dangerous chemicals in their blood, partly because of inadequate equipment, says Jeanine Nicholson, the city's new fire chief. And that equipment is still standard issue for urban firefighters sent to assist in putting out large wildfires, Nicholson said Tuesday. “They do not have enough protection,” the chief said after reviewing the findings from a study of the fire's impact on her crew members. “We need help from the (fire equipment) industry.” The study by the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation analyzed the blood of 149 firefighters who fought the Tubbs Fire, which killed 22 people and burned 37,000 acres in Sonoma and Napa counties. Ten of those firefighters had dangerously elevated levels of mercury in their blood. Others had significantly higher levels of polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, compared to firefighters who weren't sent to fight the fire. 
San Francisco Chronicle

Local Government News

Local Developer Buys Plot Next To Sherman Oaks Galleria To Build Long-Stalled Apartment Complex
San Fernando Valley housing developer IMT Capital has purchased a plot of land in Sherman Oaks slated for large-scale housing development, officials confirmed. Purchased for $58 million, the forthcoming project sandwiched between the 101 and 405 freeways and just north of the Galleria shopping center stirred up fierce community opposition years ago. Today the 5-acre property at 4815-4827 Sepulveda Blvd. is a vacant lot, apart from a few cars stored there by a nearby dealer. The fully entitled residential project called Il Villagio Toscano or ‘Tuscan Village' would reportedly bring 325 apartment units to the site, a 260,000-square-foot building with 44,000 square feet of retail space. The San Fernando Valley Business Journal first reported the sale on Monday. IMT did not respond to request for comment. The agreement broker, Kevin Shannon at Newmark Knight Frank, declined to comment but confirmed the sale.
Los Angeles Daily News

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: